Why are forehands the more comfortable/better shot?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by GoaLaSSo, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    732
    Location:
    On the pitch
    Why don't more people develop stronger backhands?

    In a lot of competitive matches, people often attack each others' backhands. I would think that this would give people a lot of practice on the backhand wing. The backhand is also usually a less complicated shot. Even if you are playing a bit stiff it shouldn't change the stroke as much as the forehand. At the pro level, I can understand that the mechanics of each stroke allow the forehand to be more powerful, but at lower levels there should not be such a difference.
     
    #1
  2. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,335
    Forehand is kinda like a throwing motion. That is why it's (generally) so much easier to pick up when you first start playing.
     
    #2
  3. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2,090
    Ther's also the fact that you have more reach on your FH side compared to the BH, where your hitting arm(s) crosses your body before you hit the ball.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
    #3
  4. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,386
    get a stick to a kid and let em swing and hit something around waist level. most will hit with fh motion rather than bh motion. swinging the arm extended from outside toward center of body is more instinctive and fundamental movement.
     
    #4
  5. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,659
    For OHBH, I think shoulder strength plays a role. FWIW, I can hit my OHBH much harder than my forehand.
     
    #5
  6. Ehh

    Ehh Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Messages:
    473
    same, I ballbash the heck out of my 1hbh. I think of it like a slingshot where you draw your arm and torso back with your left arm, then just let yourself whiplash forward. Seriously, I am violent with it, I am always airborne during the shot, and sometimes spin around way out of control after hitting it.
     
    #6
  7. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,900
    The forehand involves pulling the racket in toward your center, which as many have noted is like throwing. The movement is more natural and easier to control as the racket is brought into the center of vision.
     
    #7
  8. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    732
    Location:
    On the pitch
    I do agree with the forehand being a more natural feeling stroke. From an experience perspective though, players end up hitting a lot of backhands (especially defensive players). What brought up the original question is that my backhand is my more comfortable shot because I'm so used to hitting consistent rally backhands. My forehand is still better, but I would say it is a bit more shaky over the course of the match.
     
    #8
  9. Ducker

    Ducker Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Messages:
    326
    It's because it is the way ur brains wired.
     
    #9
  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,268
    I think just the body mechanics alone would make the fh 10x more comfortable than the bh. It's facing the ball vs turning your back, balanced stance vs unbalanced, swinging using the well used chest muscle vs the back muscles.
     
    #10
  11. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,600
    Location:
    Baseline
    For beginners the backhand is almost always the weaker side but over time the backhand CAN be the more reliable shot.

    Right now I sometimes feel more confident in my OHBH than my forehand. On my backhand side I'm far more likely to stay very disciplined and hit steady, deep shots crosscourt with effective pace. Nothing spectacular but it's going back over the net and likely won't be punished.

    If I'm disciplined my forehand is reliable but too often I'll be tempted to go for too much: too much pace, too much angle, too close to the lines, and then I miss.

    My wife is very much in the same boat. Her backhand is very steady and when we hit against each other for fun I try to avoid her backhand since she can hit short angles and down the line with equal effectiveness. The moment I hit to her backhand (she's a two-hander) I know I'm going to be rushing somewhere: if I'm deep on the ad side she's going deep down the line and if I'm over on the deuce side she's going for a short angle wide on the ad side. With my bad left knee and bad right ankle she's often successful with those shots. But her forehand isn't nearly as reliable and I know that a high bouncing shot with lots of spin to her forehand will often produce an error. Since she doesn't see a ton of spin or pace in ladies doubles I know a hard shot to her FH will also be tough for her to return but she just feeds off that pace on her BH side. She's just less comfortable on that side for some reason.

    I've read somewhere that backhands can become more reliable precisely because they're often more "mechanical". You're less likely to overthink the backhand and just hit a clean, technically sound stroke. Meanwhile, the forehand tempts one to go for too much or get too fancy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
    #11
  12. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    732
    Location:
    On the pitch
    I think you said it well. I hit a two handed backhand and I rarely miss with it in actual match play because of how much simpler the mechanics of the stroke are, but when I get nervous or lose focus my forehand breaks down more easily.
     
    #12
  13. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    10,446
    more adaptable contact pt, which helps with the poor position on the ball of beginners and players under pressure.
     
    #13
  14. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,027

    Easy Answer: Look at any public court, what is everybody practicing/hitting ?
     
    #14
  15. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    732
    Location:
    On the pitch
    Also true. It seems like everyone focuses on the forehand and just hopes their backhand does not suck. I don't understand why though considering the most common tactic for players to use is "hit to their backhand.'
     
    #15
  16. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Messages:
    986
    the FH has more consistent power and you can hit it from varying heights without sacrificing a lot of control or power. You can also hit it better on the dead run, or jammed thus cover more court on that side. The people that play Fed well prevent him from hitting the forehand, same with playing greats like sampras, graf, henin, nadal. I think the wrist position and elbow allow for a lot more freedom on the FH side. You let those guys/girls hit forehands and you'll consistently be toast.
     
    #16
  17. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3,173
    I love hitting 2hbhs. Sometimes it is even more consistant than my fh is the other guy has a strong shot. The only draw back is the 2h got less reach and needs to be played in position a lot more than the fh.

    Fh is the dominant hand (except Rafa), and easier to hit on the run when the ball outside the wheel house. But cc bh is a great shot against righties when your bh is good enough to be consistant if not attacking. Some guys would make it a habit to hit I/O, and if they can't hit a winner, the bh dtl is there to win the point. There is game even if my fh is not as good as his.
     
    #17
  18. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,404
    Forearm flexors are inherently stronger.
     
    #18
  19. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,335
    Location:
    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    people dont' practice it enough... they always practice the forehand
     
    #19
  20. Bobs tennis

    Bobs tennis Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    198
    I'm a frustrated left hander.I play tennis right handed,Bat left handed,Golf right handed and on and on.I tried playing tennis left handed and never could.With that background my 2hbh and 1hbh are more comfortable and much better then my fh.I run around my forehand constantly.It really frustrates many opponents.
     
    #20
  21. BCTennis

    BCTennis New User

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    My backhand is better than my forehand in terms of consistency, defense, and hitting off the rise(I dont know why...) Overall I generally dictate points with my backhand, then I finish off with a forehand to the open court.

    Forehand is one of those things where when its on its great, but when its off its crap. The backhand stays the same due to restricted movement.
     
    #21
  22. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,508
    When Sharapova beat Serena to win Wimby at the age of 17, Sharapova actually ran around her forehand to hit her 2 HBH on a few service returns.

    Li Na will also step around her forehand on balls in the middle of the court to hit her 2 HBH.

    But, I think most of us prefer to hit a FH. Contact point is farther back than a 1 HBH allowing you more time, you can hit from open, semi-open or closed stances, FH has a bit more reach than a 2 HBH, and it is a bit easier for most of to generate power and topspin.
     
    #22
  23. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,499
    A lot is to do with human physiology. Your palm is the more sensitive side to your hand and, comparably, so are inner rotation and gripping movements. By that I mean humans are much more used to (over millions of years of evolution) performing motions which require dexterity, strength and hand-eye coordination in that way as opposed to outward/backward motions.

    Similarly, eye dominance plays a part in this whole process. Most people are considerably more dominant in one eye than the other - generally the same side as the dominant hand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
    #23
  24. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,508
    Sounds good to me.

    Right handed people tend to hit baseballs from the right side of the plate. So, there is something to your theory that you want your dominant side palm doing most of the work.
     
    #24
  25. comeback

    comeback Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,192
    In old school tennis, I've seen many 3.5 and 4.0 players seemingly have stronger forehands. But at the 4.5 level the backhand becomes equally as strong.
     
    #25
  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    37,247
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Start feeding balls, which hand did you use? Forehand.
    When you started tennis, which side worked better? Forehand.
    You can hit open or closed stance forehands.
    With backhand, you learned to slice AND hit with topspin or flat?
     
    #26
  27. USArmyTennis

    USArmyTennis New User

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    76
    Definitely forehand is more natural feeling and it is the shot to get developed first. But as some guys have said the OHBH is a killer if you develop the shoulder power to use it. 2HBH requires more torso movement and people fail to learn to use the non dominate arm(i.e. left hand for righties) to drive the racquet forward.
     
    #27
  28. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,825
    If frisbees were invented 70,000 years ago, maybe we'd have better backhands.
     
    #28
  29. TennisCoachIN

    TennisCoachIN Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2011
    Messages:
    113
    IMO--it just feels much more natural to hit a forehand. For me hitting a two-handed backhand feels very awkard.
     
    #29
  30. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    6,586
    Location:
    France
    Forehands are the most natural shot. On the other hand, backhands are the shot you work on the most and is kinda automatic. Which means that if you have to attack a side, you should attack the backhand as it's more likely to break first since it's presumably the weaker side. On the other hand, if both shots are equivalent, then you maybe should attack the forehand since the backhand is kinda automatic, worked on, and being the most natural shot, the forehand will more often than not reflect the mental state of your opponent.
     
    #30
  31. samarai

    samarai Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Messages:
    251
    You have more muscles on the front of your arm. Get more power and control from the forehand.
     
    #31

Share This Page