Two-Handed Backhand Feedback Sought

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by asked_answered, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Hi, folks. Some video of me hitting forehands and my new two-handed backhand is below. I know my forehand's a mess and comments on it are welcome, but I'd really like to get some feedback on how the two-handed backhand I started hitting a month ago is progressing (assuming it is progressing). Thanks in advance!

    http://youtu.be/9V-a2KE-x3U
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
    #1
  2. CRWV

    CRWV Rookie

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    Kinetic chain. (you're arming everything, forehand included)
     
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  3. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Well, dang. I thought I was using the kinetic chain in my backhand. (I know my forehand doesn't utilize it properly.) What part(s) of the kinetic chain do you see missing from my stroke? (And thanks!)
     
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  4. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    For a new stroke you're doing a pretty good job! For me, I'd like to see you release your right hip throughout contact more and (as anyone who has ever asked me for advice on their 2hb will tell you!), I would like to see greater extension of your right (non-dominant) arm through and after contact - for me you 'break' the elbow too soon. See Marat at about 18s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qryuUZL31d0

    The only other thing I might change is to get the racquet head above your wrists when you reach your 'launch' position.

    Other than that, good job.

    cheers
     
    #4
  5. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks very much for the feedback and tips, coach! I will work on right hip release, non-dominant arm extension, and racquet head height in my next practice session.
     
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  6. Mighty Matteo

    Mighty Matteo Semi-Pro

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    You should hit your 2hbh with a loop. Drop the racket and bend the knees, then brush up on the ball for some topspin.
     
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  7. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for the tips!
     
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  8. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Why? And what does that look like?
     
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  9. CRWV

    CRWV Rookie

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    Compare your strokes to a Fed (fh) and a Safin (bh, pick any of the great backhands you can find in slow mo on the youtubez);

    The biggest difference is that they practically *don't* use their arm at all. Like a great hitter (see if you can find pujols in slow motion), the lower body establishes (I hope there are no physics majors on this forum :oops:) stored energy by moving first, which causes the trunk to follow, then the upper arm, then the racket. If you look at your vid, you're initiating the swing from the shoulder (approximately).

    All of that said, this is where my usefulness ends, as my forehand, in practice, isn't much better (and I use a 1 hander on the other side). :)
     
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  10. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for the feedback! I think my problem is that I know to use the kinetic chain, but I'm short-circuiting it with poor execution and missing elements. Coach Smith's comment that I'm not releasing my right hip is an example of a missing kinetic chain element. I'll see if I can utilize all of the chain elements and have them work better together.

    I actually watched some video of Safin last night. He does have (assuming he still hits the ball for fun) a great two-handed backhand.
     
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  11. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Hi Ash. Tell me more about your thoughts about right arm extension. What are the advantages?

    Thanks,
     
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  12. Matheson

    Matheson New User

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    Not to derail your thread, but what ball machine is that?
     
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  13. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    For me extension through contact of the non-dominant arm - the top hand if you like (so for the majority of players their left arm in a 2hb) is essential, especially when the hitting structure has this arm in a bent configuration.

    It helps ensure the proper release of the top wrist (radial deviation and flexion) in order to help control the racquet face. It also, in my experience, helps ensure the proper release of the off hip and improve external-internal shoulder rotation on that arm.

    I support this, with Agassi, Safin, Murray...etc etc...

    Agassi (pause at 10s) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql5xVpACt1Y

    Murray (pause at 10s) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsMLBAKn9MU&feature=relmfu

    Safin (pause at about 13-14s) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qryuUZL31d0

    Hope that makes sense. The best way to get players to learn this feeling is to get them to finish in the positions illustrated by the players above at the time i've indicated.

    Cheers
     
    #13
  14. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Three basics: (1) a lefty 2hb is a right handed forehand, (2) you need more unit rotation on both sides, and (3) you need to put more effort and energy into your shot preparation.

    BH - A lefty 2hb is basically a right handed forehand. That means that your right hand should be dominant and swing in the same manner and the same swing path (as much as possible with your left hand on the racquet), as your left hand forehand including a little WW finish, and your left hand should remain passive. It may feel strange at first. But, in most cases, the improvement in stroke production is instant. Just focus on your right hand and hit a forehand with that hand.

    FH and BH - You have too much independent arm swing and not enough unit rotation. On both sides, the path of the racquet head is created more by the rotation of your hips and shoulders than by your arm(s). A good reference is that your hips and shoulders should be facing the corner of the back fence on your backswing, and the other side fence on your finish. Another reference is to understand that, on both sides, your hand(s) don't move much from directly in front of your sternum throughout your backswing and forward swing until after contact where your elbow(s) bend(s). BTW, your current forehand looks like you might be a natural righty. FYI, Nadal is a natural righty.

    Shot preparation - IMO, this is the most important part of tennis. Shot preparation means footwork and set up. You need to put more conscious effort and energy into both until it becomes automatic. All the stroke technique in the world is useless if you aren't prepared and set up properly before the ball gets there. You need a wider, lower stance in your ready position and when you execute your strokes. Among other things, this will help your balance which is a bit shaky now. You should consciously hit your forehand with an open stance EVERY TIME until it becomes automatic. Your backhand should be hit with a neutral stance. The exceptions are when you are hitting on the dead run and you don't have time to stop and set up. Some say that you should hit a short forehand with a neutral stance. I say BS. IMO, you should hit every single forehand with an open stance, unless you are on the dead run and don't have time to set up.

    Hope this helps.

    PS: Do not hit your backhand with a loop. I didn't get in to stroke technique because there's only so much you can assimilate at one time. But, on both sides, your hands should move straight back, with both hands on the racquet (on both sides), with the racquet head pointing up. On FH, your right hand remains on the throat of the racquet until you've completed your unit turn. This Helps to promote a full unit turn. You then initiate your forward swing with hip drive on both sides. This momentum should cause your racquet head to drop below the ball so that the butt of the racquet is facing the ball in the UPWARD forward swing. This dropping of the racquet head my give the impression of a loop. But, it's the racquet head that makes the reverse "C", not the hand(s). As you make contact out front, the racquet head catches up to the hand.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
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  15. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    Ash, thanks for the detailed description.

    I'll fess-up that I got confused however (happens all too easily). I thought you meant extension of the dominant arm. I didn't get how that would work exactly. I forgot that the OP was a lefty, so his right arm is his non-dominant arm. I even bolded "non-dominant" in the original post. I'm going with the "it was late and I was tired" excuse.

    I'm totally with you about extension of the non-dominant arm. The whole stroke works better when you get that extension. When I don't do it the racquet has a tendency to not whip through the contact zone - the shot tends to lose a lot of power. I think that's a more simplistic way of saying what you said above.

    Thanks again.
     
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  16. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ..........
     
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  17. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    No worries. :)
     
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  18. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    [You questions in red don't show up when I quote your post]

    Of course there are differences between a 2hb and a lefty's right handed forehand. For one, his left hand is on the racquet. And, it is virtually impossible to make your dominant hand completely passive. But, IMO, for those first learning to hit a 2hb, it is best thought of as an off hand forehand. That approach is the easiest way for a new 2hb hitter to immediately begin to dominate with his off hand.

    Hitting on the run is an exception to an open stance. A short ball below the net typically requires that you hit on the run (running in), which makes the usual set up impractical if not impossible.

    A loop of the hand in the windup adds nothing to the stroke but an unecessary variable. IMO, Andre Agassi's 2hb is the perfect model to emulate. Djokovic and Nadal's 2hb's are also good models. Using a loop on the forehand has been taught for 100 years, and is still taught by many. IMO, with a modern forehand, it, too, serves no beneficial purpose and only adds an unecessary variable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
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  19. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    ^^^Thanks Limp

    I didn't mean my queries to be critical, but too many people
    post advice without substantiating it with reasoning. Then you just end up with OP not having a clue who to listen to, which is why when I comment on a technical post I'm always very careful not to simply say "you must or must not do this"

    Cheers
     
    #19
  20. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thank you for the feedback, suggestions, and commentary! I have been trying to use my right (non-dominant) arm as if I'm hitting a forehand (even doing forehand shadow strokes), but, of course, I'm not doing it right. I'll keep working on it. (Coach Smith's suggestions of non-dominant arm extension should help with that.)

    Unit rotation on both wings is obviously a challenge for me. I know, intellectually, how the concept works, but my body slips into arm-dominant swings whenever I relax and just hit. I'll see if I can teach my body to incorporate more rotation into my shots. (Oh, and I'm a natural lefty, but I was taught to bat and play golf right-handed, so maybe that's what you're seeing.)

    That's interesting about the height and width of my stance. I was an excellent defender in all of the team sports I played as a teen, which required low, wide stances and quick footwork. So, maybe thinking of defending when I hit a tennis ball will help.

    I'll try hitting my forehand with an open stance, but is it effective to hit a traditional forehand (my forehand at present) from an open stance?

    And thanks for your thoughts on looping swings and proper swing motion!

    (Matheson: I believe the ball machine is an old version of the Playmate Genie. It's my club's machine.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
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  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    I do sometimes speak in overly dogmatic terms. When I say "you must" it means that, IMO, it's imperative. But, I've seen enough to know that there is always at least one exception to every rule.
     
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  22. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Well, take a look at Agassi's backhand and see if you can spot some major differences from yours.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql5xVpACt1Y
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIq1JwaNUbs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1qv6S7KJug

    It's absolutely effective to hit a traditional forehand with an open stance, or at least a semi-open stance. I learned that lesson 25 years ago, long before there was any such thing as a modern forehand. IMO, the forehand should never have been taught to be hit with a closed stance. It's just not a natural set-up. It inhibits your unit turn forward, inhibits your follow through, puts your contact point too far back, and leaves you off balance at the finish. There's a reason why in the 40's-60's so many pro's backhands were better than their forehands, except on return of serve.

    Having said that, you should learn to hit a modern forehand. It's like cheating compared to an old school Eastern drive. But, IMO, footwork and set-up is a primary concern, for everyone, not just you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
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  23. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks for those links to Agassi's backhand strokes! I'll look at them, and see if I can sharpen my backhand into something roughly approximating his (and Safin's, which I really like, too.)

    That's good to know about the open stance, traditional forehand. Thanks!

    I've actually been trying out a modern forehand, but I'm betting I've got it wrong. I think I'll take a lesson on both strokes soon, video the lesson, and see what I can do with the strokes.

    Thanks again!
     
    #23
  24. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Here are my steps to a modern forehand. The video below of the, now famous, L&R guy showing how it's done is the best modern forehand lesson I've seen online. This isn't going to happen over night. It takes time and committment. But, if you want your forehand to be a weapon that wins points and rarely hits unforced errors, you should make the committment and resign that it's going to take several months, or more, to fully develop. It's worth it.

    Remember, this presupposes that you've expended some energy on shot preparation and set up to be in perfect position to hit the ball, like a batter in a batter's box, before the ball gets there. (I originally wrote this for a righty).

    - SW grip.
    - Set your arm and racquet in the hitting position from the start - elbow in and forward, wrist laid back, left hand on throat of racquet, racquet head pointing straight up.
    - Wide, low stance with feet parellel, or near parallel, to the baseline, weight primarily on right leg, toes on both feet pointing to the right side fence.
    - Rotate your upper body back as far as you comfortably can. Your hips should be facing the right side fence, your chest should be past the right side fence, with your chin on your left shoulder. Notice that the arm and hand have done nothing. They went along for the ride and stayed in front of the sternum during the unit turn, which is now facing past the side fence.
    - Release your left hand and lead your forward swing with your right hip turning toward the target. Your lower body pulls your upper body, which pulls your arm and racquet to contact. Hand and wrist remain lose and relaxed so that the racquet head drops below the level of the hand. Reminder: your elbow remains in and forward to contact.
    - Make contact about 2 feet in front of your right foot.
    - As you swing up and forward, your weight transfers from your right foot across to your left foot, feet pivot so they point to the left side fence.
    - After contact, elbow rises and racquet head swings across in WW motion and finishes pointing down.
    - Upper body continues to rotate until your chest is facing the left side fence.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EMNtq393tvo
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
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  25. asked_answered

    asked_answered Rookie

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    Thanks very much for this! I'll analyze the video (I think I've seen it before, and, if so, I know it's very useful), think over your suggestions, and then see what I can do on the practice court.
     
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