why blake's backhand sucks

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by m27, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. m27

    m27 Banned

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    this post originated in another thread, but I decided it would be a shame to put all this effort into it only for it to be buried on page 3 of some obscure thread where nobody would ever see it.

    anyway, a picture is worth a thousand words. lets look at three players whose backhands kicks ass, and one whose sucks:

    [​IMG]
    ONE OF THESE DOES NOT BELONG

    for whom it is not apparent...
    1) look at the position of blake's racquet. the top is barely in line with his shoulders. federer, gasquet, and kuerten all have their racquets way back and up; you cant even see their elbows. blake's elbow is down between shoulder and waist height and clearly visible. you might think he's halfway through his stroke, but this is the farthest point of his backswing.
    2) look at the shoulder rotation of each player. every angle is slightly different, but you can see that every player (except blake) has massive shoulder rotation and is showing their back to their opponent. blake is side-on to his opponent, or possibly even a bit open.
    3) look at the legs of each player. they all have quite wide stances with their weight far behind the front foot (laterally); ie, if they were to lift up their rear leg, they would fall backwards. blake's feet are far too close together and his front leg is tucked in instead of being out. this leads to poor balance and ineffective weight transfer.

    [​IMG]

    again, one of these does not belong. look at his legs. look at how little his torso and shoulder have moved since the beginning of the stroke and compare it with other players.

    for those of you who think I used a particularly bad video of blake... the video that I got these images from was posted by Bungalo Bill as an ideal model backhand. :rolleyes: when I told him that blake's backhand (and this video in particular) was a poor model, his reaction was very hostile.

    anyway, I'm sure his response to this thread will be as unintelligible as his posts in the aforementioned thread. from the rest of you, I would appreciate some feedback.
     
    #1
  2. jasoncho92

    jasoncho92 Professional

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    Maybe his rounded back is due to scoliosis as a child. You hatin on handicapped brah? (jk)
     
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  3. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    #3
  4. m27

    m27 Banned

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    you sure showed me
     
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  5. jmjmkim

    jmjmkim Semi-Pro

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    On the flip side, Academically, which one does not belong? Didn't James Blake attend Harvard?
     
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  6. [osu]ilovecows

    [osu]ilovecows Rookie

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    Aren't you the guy who said he could beat an ATP player? XD Yeah, we should definitely listen to this guy, he knows what he's talking about!

    Still waiting on that footage you promised us from 10 days ago of your new abilities hahahahha.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=238267
     
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  7. m27

    m27 Banned

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    never ever said that.
     
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  8. m27

    m27 Banned

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    btw, love how not a single reply thus far has been on topic. way to counter me with analysis, guys.
     
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  9. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    If you notice,, Blake's back swing isn't as full as other great backhands.. Therefore he ends up using too much of the arm and shoulders and not enough of the trunk and legs. therefore, less power and less control.
     
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  10. Ballinbob

    Ballinbob Hall of Fame

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    His backhand sucks?Since when? That's why he's been in the top 10 for so long right? How many people stay in the top 10 for that long with a bad backhand? His backhand is solid and it demonstrates good technique. And since when do you know more than BB about tennis? Just wait until he sees this and tells you how wrong you are.

    Teaching pro vs an arrogant guy who thinks he's all that and likes putting people down. I vote teaching pro...

    oh, and you can go and try copying Gasquet's backhand and see how that works out for ya'
     
    #10
  11. rbq4h4

    rbq4h4 Rookie

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    im wondring if this is racialistically motivated since Balke is black?
     
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  12. TokyopunK

    TokyopunK Professional

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    The answer is Guga because he has black shorts and everyone else has white shorts!!!

    What do I win!!
     
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  13. Tennisguy777

    Tennisguy777 Professional

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    haha, half black though, just missing an asian guy though you almost got everyone represented. Blakes backhand is easier to do especially for low balls even those other guys use the same technique as him when it comes push to shove.
     
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  14. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    m27 you're from Vancouver BC right? Whats your ranking over there in juniors? or men's open?
     
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  15. Tennisguy777

    Tennisguy777 Professional

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    Different strokes for different folks.
     
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  16. m27

    m27 Banned

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    federer is not slicing that backhand
     
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  17. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    m27 are you going to answer my question?
     
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  18. ronalditop

    ronalditop Hall of Fame

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    i wouldnt say blake's backhand sucks, it is just hideous. ive seen many amateurs players that have the same technique on the backhand that blake has.
     
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  19. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Edberg's forehand wasn't pretty, neither were McEnroe's strokes for example and results speak for themselves. Has Blake won a slam? nope but so what, he's still better then anyone who comes here and posts so whats the point of bashing him? He's held a respectable ranking long enough to be a top player.
     
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  20. eteaGuy

    eteaGuy New User

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    Blake's backhand definitely does not suck. In fact, after having seen him play in person, it's quite solid and packs quite a punch. Maybe his positioning and form is not the best out there, but it gets the job done nicely. It's reliable and he's fairly quick with it.
    The four comparison pictures shown in the original post to me says absolutely nothing regarding who belongs or doesnt belong. Rather, what I would like to know is, if you were on the receiving end of any of these guys backhands would you be able to handle it?!
     
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  21. SirBlend12

    SirBlend12 Semi-Pro

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    Another thing is that Blake is a notorious flat hitter. From the look of it, he just hits a flatter backhand. Straight line swing path, flatter shot. Shoulder-knee-shoulder, more spin. They both work fine dependent on the ball you're hitting.
     
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  22. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Nah, it's Guga cuz of the black socks.
     
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  23. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ONE OF THESE DOES NOT BELONG:

    Again, it's Guga cuz of the lack of headgear.
     
    #23
  24. circusmouse

    circusmouse Rookie

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    The reason Blake's backhand looks different is that he's returning a serve. That photo is taken from a youtube clip of him returning serve. He's shortened his backswing, which is great form for returning serve. See:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTyyITw-fyo

    He's considered one of the most dangerous returners in the game.
     
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  25. jmjmkim

    jmjmkim Semi-Pro

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    That is awesome research ! WOW.
     
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  26. m27

    m27 Banned

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    mea culpa! if it is indeed a service return, then the video is clearly inappropriate for generalized analysis and the premise of this thread is flawed.

    of course, that also leaves Bungalo Bill to explain why he ardently defended a video of a backhand serve return as being an ideal model for a (rally) backhand. ;) at least I recognize that this is not how an ideal backhand is to be hit - he insists that this is perfect form. :p
     
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  27. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Xcellent find, circusmouse.

    The bottom line is -- "how effective is Blake's BH?". Earlier in his career, James' BH was a liability. From what I've seen, of late, is that his BH has developed into an asset. I don't really have any stats to back this up tho' -- just my informal observation from a few matches in the past year. Do you have any stats that show that his BH is still a liability?
     
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  28. EikelBeiter

    EikelBeiter Professional

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    Yeah..... I'm sorry guys... but that is NOT a service return, he's positioned almost in the middle of the court just on the left of the little line in the middle of the court. It's just an ordinary backhand in a rally.
     
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  29. superlobber

    superlobber New User

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    By looking at the pictures, James Blake's BH seem a little out of position. But this is just one picture; it could be that he was out of position for this shot. If he does this every shot, then his stance is a little weird. However, his BH is not suck. You don't see his opponent attack his BH like they attack Federer's BH.
    The guy just happen to go for broke almost every shop. However, his BH is not suck. I wish my BH is as good as his BH.
     
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  30. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    circusmouse, its not a return of serve. Check out the center mark line at the beginning of the video on the baseline, the tape at the net and lastly the linemans positioning. He wouldn't be returning serve on his backhand side being that far out from the singles sideline. Its not a service return....however, the whole argument by the original poster (m27) to me is invalid with his choice of pictures because Federer, Gasquet, and Guga are all hitting a backhand where they have time to setup, and step into it. Blake however does not.
    M27 also shoots himself in the foot by thinking Blakes backhand 'sucks' because in that video even though Blake is rushed he still maintains perfect balance, finishes the shot on his front foot, has a nice simple short backswing and takes the ball on the rise, and keeps his left hand back for balance. I'm sure others can find more things but all those are necessary basic things to have a great backhand, especially in the situation he was in.
    ....and to go back to what was said in another thread thats related to this by Bungalo Bill, I agree with bill in that Blakes backhand is a good tool to use as an example for students with one handers. The number reason for me is because its so simple and he always keeps his shoulders nice and balanced. Simple take back and swing, there isn't any effort wasted in the shot. Its a backhand that will allow a student to see and understand the basic principles of how to hit a one hander. Its not flashy and thats the best part about it.
     
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  31. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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    Also, the ball was coming up from the the other side of the net.
     
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  32. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    Well, while you can the intention of the thread starter, I still think Blake really does have an inferior backhand to the three other guys, so this thread may be making a valid observation.
     
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  33. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    that he can compete on the tour with it suggests his backhand doesn't suck.

    however i'm not sure it's the perfect teaching model. he hits with a pretty low margin for error. blake's a really strong guy, and he gets away with muscling it a bit through the strike zone with that very abbreviated motion. not sure if the average player is going to get anywhere near the same results as he does, with the same motion.

    there are 129 threads lavishing praise on gasquet's backhand, why not use that for a model? or edberg, or stich? federer?
     
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  34. RoddickAce

    RoddickAce Hall of Fame

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    Gasquet's backhand has a huge loop which might be hard for "average" club players to time properly. His backhand is awesome, but not everyone can hit it with the same technique.
     
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  35. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I agree that Gasquet has a superb BH that is just way too advanced for most players to emulate. Even Fed's BH has a bit too much flourish in his follow-thru for many.
     
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  36. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    Nice one darkulie :)
     
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  37. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Just how vain are we here?

    The majority of posters here are 3.5 to 4.0.

    Blake is a 7.0 player. His 1bh is not the best 1bh on the tour but it is a universe superior to anyone here.

    Step on the court with him, hit to him your best ball, and he can return is anyway you want to and it will be better than anything that anyone here can dream of.

    You want him to hit a heavy topspin of your best shot? Bam! Not a problem.

    He is "limited" only when he's trying to play against a 3100 rpm topspin from Nadal, or the nastiest of slices from Fed. Against the rest of us mortal, our balls are pathetically weak, and he can do anything with it.

    It is hysterically funny, to read that people here believes that their strokes are in any way shape of form "better" than any pros.
     
    #37
  38. Jackie T. Stephens

    Jackie T. Stephens Professional

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    His BH may look awkward to some but I bet if you get on a court with him and play you wouldn't get a single game even if you hit it to his backhand all day :)
     
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  39. SmAsH999

    SmAsH999 Rookie

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    while blake's bh isn't the best, it is certainly up there. However, his form is far from perfect.
     
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  40. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    this thread is all over the place. are people saying they've got a better backhand than blake? this is ludicrous unless we have atp players amongst us.

    are people saying blake's is the best backhand on tour? also ludicrous, there are clearly players with more range and consistency.

    are we saying blake's backhand should be the de rigeur model for all learning practitioners of the 1hbh? debatable at best.
     
    #40
  41. fluffy Beaver

    fluffy Beaver Professional

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    His ego is basically bigger than what he can actually do. In that thread, he rated a guy who plays on the ATP/Challengers a 4.0 - 4.5. And when the video posted of him serving an ace, he said it's not that fast and it is easy to return as he returns 115 mph out wide consistently from a friend of his. He also said he hits 70 mph forehands almost almost all the time.

    I'm still waiting for his new video he said he'd post.

    But you implied it. You are one of the biggest talkers on the board but never back it up.
     
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  42. fluffy Beaver

    fluffy Beaver Professional

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  43. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Funny....
    I wonder if Blake hits that backhand the way he does because he WANTS to go for lowpercentage, high risk shots!
    Maybe he isn't content to push loopy backhands back all day, gets bored, and wants to go for it.
    His backhand is fine for him. Not for you and me.
    When we have the expertise to get to top 10, THEN we can pick on his backhand and make him look silly.
    Until then, he's a GOD with his high risk, low margin for error backhand.
     
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  44. Tennisguy777

    Tennisguy777 Professional

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    Leave Blake alone, Leave Blake alone, Leave Blake alone, aaaaahhahhhaaa,ahhahhahaaa,waaaaaa :cry:
     
    #44
  45. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    I don't think Blake has a bad backhand at all, by any standards. Blake's weakness is not his backhand, it is his shot selection. The only thing with Blake's backhand is he hit's it altogether too flat. Day in, day out I would rate his backhand better than Federer's. People don't appreciate it because it doesn't look pretty, which is probably because he wears wife beaters, and grunts loudly when he hits it.




    Something that has always been very confusing to me is how people raved over Korda's backhand and berate blake for his, technically they are virtually identical.

    Also, myself and BB had a massive argument over backhand grips (about a year ago?), and it turned out contrary to our expectations that Blake has an eastern grip and that haas actually has a classic continental!

    Again, the problem with Blakes backhand is there is too little low to high, whenever he tries to put more topspin on it, he he just pulls off the ball reducing the pace and keeping the topspin the same, which has obviously led him to concluding that to hit it with pace he needs to hit it flat. I genuinely don't think he understands that if he hits it with more of a low to high swing path he can get the best of both worlds.

    Interestingly, the pulling off the ball instead of swinging more low to high is what Roddick does with his forehand these days, maybe tey have both suffered from the "brush up the back of the ball" instruction?
     
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  46. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Tough one...
    I've seen Blake play with confidence and attitude, and NOBODY can beat him when his mind is in the groove. However, that "groove" is a little too late and a dollar too short.
    When he's on, he's great.
    When he's off, he loses. Sometimes he gets beat, but more often, he loses with uninspired shots or just plain low percentage tennis, the kind he likes to play when he's 'ON".....
    Yes, I recognise he's a top 10 player. Yes, I know his backhand would drill past me even if I stood 4' from the sideline.
    Since we're critiqueing......
     
    #46
  47. Cnote

    Cnote Rookie

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    Thanks Dennis10is and BeHappy for your research and in-depth responses. Blake is in the top ten in the world and yet someone thinks he or she has the audacity to judge him! There is not one person on this board who likes everyone in the top ten or twenty. Don't hate,just appreciate the game!
     
    #47
  48. swedechris

    swedechris Banned

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    ROFL.. hehe.. good one
     
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  49. oldhacker

    oldhacker Semi-Pro

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    m27 - I think you (perhaps deliberately?) are getting the wrong end of the stick when it comes to BB's advice on this one. I doubt anybody is claiming that Blake has a better 1 HBH than Federer or Gasquet both of whom are insanely talented. What he is saying is that Blakes 1 HBH technique is about the best example from the pro-game of a 1 HBH that us lesser mortals can look to employ in our games. As you have pointed out in your analysis Blake has a relatively simple and compact 1 HBH with a 'easy' smile pattern take-back, simple pendulem swing and no intuitive wristiness. Sure the huge high takebacks of Federer or Gasquet, the looped takeback of Gasquet etc, combined with their insane reactions, anticipation, athleticism and talent give them better 1 HBH but if you are an average club player (as most on here are) grappling with a 1 HBH you can take a lot more from Blake's BH.
     
    #49
  50. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    I think my backhand is probably better in some ways than Blake's. If I could have his coaching, young start in the game, match experience, and movement I could probably go pro. Unfortunately those things are a lot more difficult to get than a nice 1HBH.
     
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