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Ash_Smith 06-19-2011 10:04 AM

Single handed backhand for juniors...
 
Something I've been pondering for the last couple of days, so I thought I'd put it out there to the coaches (and others) on the forum...

With the advent of Mini Tennis, Quickstart, Hotshots, Play+Stay etc etc why do we not teach single handed backhands at Red (I am, of course, using 'we' as a gross generalisation!) All the traditional reasons for not teaching single handed at that age (Red ball is 8&u) are taken away by the mini tennis system, yet the vast majority of coaches still teach 2 hands without fail.

I am considering an experiment!

What are your thoughts?

Cheers

Ash

FedExpress 333 06-19-2011 11:37 AM

I have used a 1hbh from the start, cuz i always wanted to be like Federer (foolish, ik). But the main thing is it is still harder to coordinate your legs, trunk, shoulder, and wrist(the kinetic shain for the 1hbh) than it is for the 2hbh. i mean, I worked on my 1 hander for 2 months, then tried a 2 hander for fun, and the 1hbh was only slightly better! Plus, you need to have developed leg muscles and shoulder musces for a powerful 1hbh, and an all court game, but which take time to develop. the 2 hbh you can say: bring the armss back, then forward again. not for the 1hbh! It might help i started at 11 instead of really young (im 13 now, btw, and my BH s better than most of my peers 2hbhs)

TennisCoachFLA 06-19-2011 11:57 AM

I have had sports doctors tell me that single handed backhands when combined with also using the dominant side for forehands, can harm the child's spine. They feel it causes a muscular imbalance that literally pulls the very pliable young spine to one side. So they recommend exercises to balance the muscles.

I think the 2 handed backhand first teaches them to rotate their shoulders as they have no choice. My feeling is to teach the 2hb first, then show them a 1 hander at an older age, just in case there is something to that muscular imbalance theory.

Ash_Smith 06-19-2011 12:37 PM

@FedExpress - don't agree with it being harder to coordinate i'm afraid.

@TCF - yeah, I can see how there may be some potential muscle imbalance issues, but if you continue to work to balance out the body with other exercises then there should be less/no issues.

cheers

BevelDevil 06-19-2011 01:35 PM

How about teaching the Bjorn Borg backhand? In that stroke I see much of the mechanics of a 1hbh, from body posture, positioning, backswing, contact, and follow-through.

From the Borg backhand, the kid could easily progress to either a pure 1hbh or 2hbh.

The biggest deterrent I see is that the stroke looks weird and a coach might be negatively judged for teaching it.



Quote:

Originally Posted by TennisCoachFLA (Post 5757655)
My feeling is to teach the 2hb first, then show them a 1 hander at an older age

Will teachers, parents and/or kids really want to switch from a 2hbh to a 1hbh given the popularity and success of the 2hbh, and the competitive pressures to win at a young age?


Btw, I suspect the real reason coaches teach the 2hbh has little to do with health and a lot to do with its perceived superiority as well as ease of teaching.

Ash_Smith 06-19-2011 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BevelDevil (Post 5757860)
Btw, I suspect the real reason coaches teach the 2hbh has little to do with health and a lot to do with its perceived superiority as well as ease of teaching.

I think the last point is probably the main reason, not enough coaches know how to teach a technically correct one hander. That said, I see far too many who teach the 2 hander badly :(

cheers

BevelDevil 06-19-2011 02:06 PM

But that's another advantage of the 2hbh: Even if it is taught poorly, it is often still good enough for a player to get by with. Whereas a 1hbh taught poorly is just a disaster and possible health hazard.


One other point, the standard grip for the 1hbh in the U.S. is the Eastern grip. Nowadays this grip is just too limited in range (esp. for high balls), which necessitates a lot of forward/back footwork discipline and probably requires the student learn to hit a decent slice as well.

So unless the default grip changes to Strong/Extreme Eastern or "SW", the 2hbh will have too many relative advantages in learning and performance.

Tennis Is Magic 06-19-2011 02:21 PM

Look at how many Spanish players and "clay courters" use the 1hbh. If THEY think it's appropriate to use a 1hbh at the pro level on high-bouncing courts in Europe, then it is most definitely applicable to anyone. The trick is to not use an Eastern grip, which is where most people go wrong. The one-handed backhand hasn't been modernized like the forehand or 2hbh was. If you teach a SW 1hbh, it's even better than a 2hbh imo because you still have the advantages of a one-handed backhand, you hit high balls VERY well, and it will make your return better because you can use the same grip for forehand (assuming you use SW forehand) and don't have to switch grips. It will make it harder to teach a junior how to volley, though, because using the same side of the racquet face will come so naturally, that on a reaction volley, they may try to do the same thing (sometimes I do it, very rarely though), but with repetition, this will be a non-issue). One other issue that's tougher to deal with is the contact point is VERY far out in front of you, and hitting crosscourt takes a great deal of early preparation. If you're even slightly late, the backhand will go straight, and that can be a problem if that's not where you wanna go.

All in all, the SW 1hbh is superior to the EBH in just about every way IMO, with the SW 1hbh even having a slight edge over the 2hbh.

junbumkim 06-19-2011 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tennis Is Magic (Post 5757958)
Look at how many Spanish players and "clay courters" use the 1hbh. If THEY think it's appropriate to use a 1hbh at the pro level on high-bouncing courts in Europe, then it is most definitely applicable to anyone. The trick is to not use an Eastern grip, which is where most people go wrong. The one-handed backhand hasn't been modernized like the forehand or 2hbh was. If you teach a SW 1hbh, it's even better than a 2hbh imo because you still have the advantages of a one-handed backhand, you hit high balls VERY well, and it will make your return better because you can use the same grip for forehand (assuming you use SW forehand) and don't have to switch grips. It will make it harder to teach a junior how to volley, though, because using the same side of the racquet face will come so naturally, that on a reaction volley, they may try to do the same thing (sometimes I do it, very rarely though), but with repetition, this will be a non-issue). One other issue that's tougher to deal with is the contact point is VERY far out in front of you, and hitting crosscourt takes a great deal of early preparation. If you're even slightly late, the backhand will go straight, and that can be a problem if that's not where you wanna go.

All in all, the SW 1hbh is superior to the EBH in just about every way IMO, with the SW 1hbh even having a slight edge over the 2hbh.

Don't quite agree with that.. A lot of Spanish players with one hander use eastern backhand grip - Albert Costa, Lopez, Corretja..Warwinka and Hass have Eastern backhand grip... There are ones with semi-western backhand grip as well like Robredo, Gasquet, Kuerten etc.

With one hander, timing is more difficult, longer take back, and it's more difficult to get the weight behind.

Bad one hander quickly becomes a liability and it's difficult to have a "solid" one hander. On the other hand, even a bad two hander becomes a relatively stable shot.

dennis10is 06-19-2011 06:04 PM

Don't you know that the 1bh has been conclusive proven that it is inferior to the 2bh? That is a fact. I'm surprised that the USPTA and other coaching organization have not banned the teaching of such an inferior technique.

At the very least, if a parent wishes their child to be taught a 1bh, the pro should be protected by having the parent sign a release form.

CoachingMastery 06-19-2011 10:02 PM

From 35 years of experience teaching, (of which the first eight years we only taught one-handed backhands), the two handed backhand offers several extrensic advantages that both objectively and subjectively has proven more advantageous for almost all the 3000+ players I have taught:

1. It is easier for most players to first learn a two-handed backhand (and two-handed forehand too), and then, if they feel the propensity, switch later.

It is almost always far more difficult for players who first learned with one hand on the backhand to switch later to a two-handed backhand.

(There are some exceptions...I'm talking about the preponderence of general examples.)

2. I've NEVER had a two-hander not be able to hit a highly skilled one-handed backhand. I can't say for sure if it is just our methods of teaching, (or that we assimilate one-handed backhands for the slice very early on because we teach the correct volley skills very early on), or that the two-handed backhand as an initial learning method seems to help players understand the dynamics of a topspin backhand better and with a more repeatable, reliable swing pattern.

3. VERY few kids and even most adults, don't have the understanding, conception, or feel for hitting one-handed backhands correctly...even when they are given the proper dynamics to learn the stroke from.

Many players end up developing many flaws in trying to hit a one-handed backhand. They spend their lives then, trying to find quick fixes and bandaids to their most mediocre backhands. (A process many find a practice in futility!)

4. The most important aspect of any shot is the ability to create a reliable, repeatable swing path on command. This is where the two-handed backhand is superior as a stroke. Two hands, implementing both halves of the body, (and, as research shows, employs both halves of the brain better), players can create a far more stable swing that they can control and replicate faster and with more reliablity.

5. Two hands creates much better balance of stress, minimizing short and long term potential injuries.

The majority of players with tennis elbow are one-handed backhanders. It is almost rare indeed to find two-handed players get tennis elbow. (If they do, it usually can be traced to poor backhand volley form.)

These are just a few of the less obvious...but, in my opinion, far more influencial in terms of deciding to teach two-handed strokes.

BevelDevil 06-19-2011 11:34 PM

Just curious: Prior to the days of 2hbh dominance, how did young children start off?

CoachingMastery 06-20-2011 06:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BevelDevil (Post 5758946)
Just curious: Prior to the days of 2hbh dominance, how did young children start off?

Most of us, as children, prior to the recognition and establishment of the two-handed backhand worked to emulate those one-handers who were good.

Just like people who high-jumped facing the bar before Dick Fosbury showed the world there was a better way to jump over it backwards.

drakulie 06-20-2011 07:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash_Smith (Post 5757868)
I think the last point is probably the main reason, not enough coaches know how to teach a technically correct one hander. That said, I see far too many who teach the 2 hander badly :(

cheers

what I find so confusing about this, is that the one-hander, from a mechanical stand point is much simpler than a two hander.

I suspect that the reason for teaching a two-hander is because of the "instant gratification", and people for the most part are lazy. The perception that picking up something and swinging it with two hands on your non dominant side with two hands VS one is eaiser.

drakulie 06-20-2011 07:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CoachingMastery (Post 5758840)
The majority of players with tennis elbow are one-handed backhanders. It is almost rare indeed to find two-handed players get tennis elbow. (If they do, it usually can be traced to poor backhand volley form.)

whole-heartedly disagree. Most players I run into who have developed tennis elbow is due in part to poor mechanics on their forehand.

aimr75 06-20-2011 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drakulie (Post 5759606)
what I find so confusing about this, is that the one-hander, from a mechanical stand point is much simpler than a two hander.

I suspect that the reason for teaching a two-hander is because of the "instant gratification", and people for the most part are lazy. The perception that picking up something and swinging it with two hands on your non dominant side with two hands VS one is eaiser.

yeah I agree the mechanics itself for the 1hbh is simpler.. its just not that easy to execute when not in position.. as you say, laziness is the bane of most tennis players, including myself :)

TennisCoachFLA 06-20-2011 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drakulie (Post 5759625)
whole-heartedly disagree. Most players I run into who have developed tennis elbow is due in part to poor mechanics on their forehand.

And I totally disagree with you and agree with CoachingMastery. By far the most cases of tennis elbow can be traced back to something with the backhand, a bad 1 hander, bad volley form. I think any sports doctor or long time coach will agree with this. Some cases may be traced to the equipment, but rarely is it the product of just a bad forehand.

drakulie 06-20-2011 08:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TennisCoachFLA (Post 5759699)
And I totally disagree with you and agree with CoachingMastery. By far the most cases of tennis elbow can be traced back to something with the backhand, a bad 1 hander, bad volley form. I think any sports doctor or long time coach will agree with this. Some cases may be traced to the equipment, but rarely is it the product of just a bad forehand.

well, I could tell you this,,,,, I live at a tennis club (literally) with 23 tennis courts. Nearly everyone who has tennis elbow has it because of the terrible form on their forehands. They try to snap their wrist, contort their forearms, etc, in order to "achieve more spin".

To add, whenever I see someone walking onto the court with a contraption to alleviate thier tennis elbow and watch them play, it is once again thier terrible form (especially on the forehand).

Same applies at the shop where I string. They take practice cuts on thier forehand side and same thing.

BMC9670 06-20-2011 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drakulie (Post 5759606)
I suspect that the reason for teaching a two-hander is because of the "instant gratification", and people for the most part are lazy.

I disagree with this. There are many pros who have been trained from the time they were 6, 7, and 8 with long term goals of becoming pros by some of the best coaches on the planet. Many of these use a 2HBH. We're they "lazy"? No, they were taught a very effective way to hit the ball in the modern game. Nadal, Djoker, Venus, Serena, the list goes on and on. I don't think they, nor the people who raised and trained them were considered "lazy".

TennisCoachFLA 06-20-2011 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drakulie (Post 5759775)
well, I could tell you this,,,,, I live at a tennis club (literally) with 23 tennis courts. Nearly everyone who has tennis elbow has it because of the terrible form on their forehands. They try to snap their wrist, contort their forearms, etc, in order to "achieve more spin".

To add, whenever I see someone walking onto the court with a contraption to alleviate thier tennis elbow and watch them play, it is once again thier terrible form (especially on the forehand).

Same applies at the shop where I string. They take practice cuts on thier forehand side and same thing.

Then our experiences are different. In my experience, the backhand and equipment cause way more cases than the forehand. Google any sports doctor and tennis elbow and they say the same thing. Many players have bad form on their forehands, bad take backs, bad shoulder rotation, many issues.....in most cases it just does not lead to tennis elbow like a 1HB or stiff frames and strings do.


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