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arnelarsen 01-08-2013 10:03 AM

Backhand for players over 60?
 
What is the better choice for a 60-75 year old tennis player who wants to compete in senior tournaments - a one-handed or a two-handed backhand? I have seen several of these discussions for younger players, but such answers cannot be transferred to older players, since it is another game when you are past 60. I know that almost all of the best 60+ players of today have one-handed backhands, and I wonder what the reason is. The two-handed backhand has been popular since Connors, Evert and Borg broke through in the start of the 70s and a lot of young persons copied their backhands at that time. However, the vast majority of the better players in their 50s, which I run into, have one-handed backhands, although the two-handed backhand was about equally popular when they learned to play tennis. Being 51 myself, I wonder if I should prepare myself to switch to a one-handed backhand in the near future?

Best

Arne

luvforty 01-08-2013 10:25 AM

1 handed, dink/slice shot... lot easier to reach for wide or low balls... and less stress on hips.

McLovin 01-08-2013 10:34 AM

Well, my father will be 78 this year, and he still hits his 2-handed backhand. In fact, his left shoulder is so shot that he serves right handed, then switches hands (he's a lefty). But he still had no problem hitting that 2 hander.

But, I do agree that most older players hit a 1-handed backhand. In fact, I was in Naples, FL over X-mas, and other than my father, I cannot recall seeing anyone over the age of 60 hit two hands.

USS Tang 01-08-2013 10:55 AM

I am 67 and learned a 1HBH over 40 years ago. I also play USTA senior tournaments. This is what I'll stay with barring an injury.

sureshs 01-08-2013 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arnelarsen (Post 7105701)
What is the better choice for a 60-75 year old tennis player who wants to compete in senior tournaments - a one-handed or a two-handed backhand? I have seen several of these discussions for younger players, but such answers cannot be transferred to older players, since it is another game when you are past 60. I know that almost all of the best 60+ players of today have one-handed backhands, and I wonder what the reason is. The two-handed backhand has been popular since Connors, Evert and Borg broke through in the start of the 70s and a lot of young persons copied their backhands at that time. However, the vast majority of the better players in their 50s, which I run into, have one-handed backhands, although the two-handed backhand was about equally popular when they learned to play tennis. Being 51 myself, I wonder if I should prepare myself to switch to a one-handed backhand in the near future?

Best

Arne

Why majority of older players have 1 handed backhands is quite clear - the one hander was the choice of most pros when they started playing, even though there were well-known 2 handers as you point out.

What you really need to find out is if there is someone on the Senior or Champions tour who switched from a 2 hander to a 1 hander. I believe there is one former 2 hander pro who now hits predominantly 1 handers on the senior circuit, though I can't recall offhand who he is.

Also, the 1 hander is very suitable for lazy people so I suppose that is a plus point with seniors.

goober 01-08-2013 11:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arnelarsen (Post 7105701)
. I know that almost all of the best 60+ players of today have one-handed backhands, and I wonder what the reason is.
Arne


I know a some good 60+ players still using 2 HBH. I think in the 60+ crowd a lot of them still grew up with the one hander. Ones that didn't and switched when they get older tell me it is mostly mobility and reach thing. It also takes less effort to set up the 1 HBH shot and most play doubles so trading topspin backhands from the baseline usually isn't what they are doing and need the 2HBH less.

dominikk1985 01-08-2013 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arnelarsen (Post 7105701)
What is the better choice for a 60-75 year old tennis player who wants to compete in senior tournaments - a one-handed or a two-handed backhand? I have seen several of these discussions for younger players, but such answers cannot be transferred to older players, since it is another game when you are past 60. I know that almost all of the best 60+ players of today have one-handed backhands, and I wonder what the reason is. The two-handed backhand has been popular since Connors, Evert and Borg broke through in the start of the 70s and a lot of young persons copied their backhands at that time. However, the vast majority of the better players in their 50s, which I run into, have one-handed backhands, although the two-handed backhand was about equally popular when they learned to play tennis. Being 51 myself, I wonder if I should prepare myself to switch to a one-handed backhand in the near future?

Best

Arne

there always have been 2 handers but the 2 hander used to be considered a a technically inferior or "*****" shot. real men were supposed to be one handed.

so basically the 2HBH had the same image the the 2HFH has now:).

dlam 01-08-2013 01:35 PM

Timing is the main issue for me.
I use the one handed as much as I can cause I can react much faster and better coordination
So this is typically ROS
However I have more strength with 2HB
So when I have more time playing from the backcourt I use 2HB.
My sense of timing and tempo is still controlled by my preferred arm my right but I have added rhythm and power from my left arm holding on to the racket
In essence I hold with my left hand and grip with my right hand

LeeD 01-08-2013 01:41 PM

1hbh slice is the easiest on the body, o the choice for most seniors.
2hbh can be used for returns of serves and topspin groundies.
You do need a half extra step to always hit 2hbh.

corbind 01-08-2013 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7105805)
Also, the 1 hander is very suitable for lazy people so I suppose that is a plus point with seniors.

Are you referring to 1HBH topspin, slice, or both? Further, could you explain how specifically it's lazier (or perhaps easier) than 2HBH?

Of the guys I've played who are 60 and beyond, seems 85-90% employ the old-school 1HBH. Of the few who use 2HBH I generally ask if they used to use 1HBH. Most affirm.

TennisCJC 01-08-2013 08:12 PM

I am 56 and hit 2 HBH topspin and 1 HBH slice. I don't plan to change.

I hit occasionally with a 78 year former D1 college player. He plays senior tourneys and does reasonably well. He hits with 2 hands on BOTH SIDES. He is as steady as a rock and can place it on dime.

sureshs 01-08-2013 08:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by corbind (Post 7106090)
Are you referring to 1HBH topspin, slice, or both? Further, could you explain how specifically it's lazier (or perhaps easier) than 2HBH?

Of the guys I've played who are 60 and beyond, seems 85-90% employ the old-school 1HBH. Of the few who use 2HBH I generally ask if they used to use 1HBH. Most affirm.

It is lazier and easier on the slice, of course.

Turns out it is also the case for top spin, once you are over the hump and can handle high and incoming top spin balls (with topspin from your side). Some people never cross the hump though and remain slicers.

Hi I'm Ray 01-09-2013 07:28 AM

I do run into a lot of senior players in the morning. Most of them use a 1HBH I guess because a 2HBH was not popular back when they began playing. The only one that can consistently hit a hard BH uses 2 hands.

corbind 01-09-2013 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sureshs (Post 7106801)
It is lazier and easier on the slice, of course.

Turns out it is also the case for top spin, once you are over the hump and can handle high and incoming top spin balls (with topspin from your side). Some people never cross the hump though and remain slicers.

Players can be lazier with a 1HBH topspin compared to a 2HBH topspin? You're the only person I've ever heard say that. Or are you qualifying that to be true only high balls and only for people who have learned to hit high balls with topspin?

I can certainly agree that slice backhand footwork can be very sloppy and still be able to hit a good ball. Yet I can't see anyone saying that, as a general rule, a topspin one-hand backhand is easier (can be lazier doing such) than a two-hand topspin.

LeeD 01-09-2013 03:06 PM

Talking about SENIOR players here, right?
Our rotators are worn out, so it's a toll on our bodies to hit topspin every stroke.
Slice is easy, you swing slightly downwards, gravity assisting.
If you're under 50, you can't possibly know.

magnut 01-09-2013 03:37 PM

Slice everything, keep everything low, and look for oportunities to get into the net. Slice serves....and even slice forehands are also very good tools to have as age catches up with your game.

Also learn an effective drop shot and a good deep lob (does not have to be topspin).

Try not to get into ball bashing contests with younger players who have not come face to face with age. Learn to keep the ball low and use angles and court positioning to keep more modern styles off balance while controling the pace of the point.

Also...hot baths before playing and lot of ice after are good practices.

Tennis is not an age friendly sport. If your a hard explosive mover I would suggest studying players like Edberg and McEnroe in terms of court movement.

Just some tips to try and keep you in the game longer. Playing doubles more will help with a lot of this as its more of a crafty shot makinging/placement game than singles which is more movement based. In this reguard doubles will make you a better singles player.

sureshs 01-09-2013 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by corbind (Post 7107908)
Players can be lazier with a 1HBH topspin compared to a 2HBH topspin? You're the only person I've ever heard say that. Or are you qualifying that to be true only high balls and only for people who have learned to hit high balls with topspin?

I can certainly agree that slice backhand footwork can be very sloppy and still be able to hit a good ball. Yet I can't see anyone saying that, as a general rule, a topspin one-hand backhand is easier (can be lazier doing such) than a two-hand topspin.

You may think so, but recently I was shocked when a coach who was on the tour (verified) told me he found the 2 hander much more difficult to hit and that is why he stayed with the 1 hander. He said the contact point more to the side was way more difficult for him than the out front contact of the 1 hander.

Once I figured out the high ball problem, I found the 1 hander to be easy. I tried the 2 hander several times, and still hit one on deep balls, but I stayed with the 1 hander. There is a certain easing into the ball and looping it, and adding some wrist roll, which makes it easy.

Observe the 1 handed pros. Their BH topspin actually turns more than the two handers. Where the 2 hander excels is on sharp attacking cross court shots and the return of serve (especially on the deuce court for a rightie).

TomT 01-09-2013 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arnelarsen (Post 7105701)
What is the better choice for a 60-75 year old tennis player who wants to compete in senior tournaments - a one-handed or a two-handed backhand? I have seen several of these discussions for younger players, but such answers cannot be transferred to older players, since it is another game when you are past 60. I know that almost all of the best 60+ players of today have one-handed backhands, and I wonder what the reason is. The two-handed backhand has been popular since Connors, Evert and Borg broke through in the start of the 70s and a lot of young persons copied their backhands at that time. However, the vast majority of the better players in their 50s, which I run into, have one-handed backhands, although the two-handed backhand was about equally popular when they learned to play tennis. Being 51 myself, I wonder if I should prepare myself to switch to a one-handed backhand in the near future?

Best

Arne

One of the best players I know is a 70 year old guy who switched from 1hbh to 2hbh about 10 years ago. If your 2hbh is consistent and effective now, then I don't see why it wouldn't be 20 years from now. For myself (at 65) I do 1hbh. I find it more esthetically pleasing than the 2hbh. :)

10isfreak 01-10-2013 05:24 AM

Seniors can't play like a freshly-out-of-college kid who's not 30 yet. Hitting heavy loops like these kids is totally out of question, let alone running madly just to spare one point. They'll be running quite a bit slower than back in the days and they might be able to afford only one or two big shots every now and then, so they ought to pay off right away. Bearing these limitations, new options become more interesting. Everything that happens inside the court is then of primary importance.

What I have seen seniors do, most of the time, is using the net a lot. I don't know if it is what you have seen or how you live your tennis life, but as physical conditions decline, the transition game and the net game take a lot of place. There's a guy named Brent Able who's pretty good at doing this. He specifically uses the one handed backhand to ease his adjustments and improve his transition game.

Once you are well placed at the net, it's just a matter of pulling off a well-placed volley and the point is over, so getting there with ease is nice. Some seniors will highly privilege slices as an approach shot. It earns them some extra time (versus a top spin approach), it's very consistent and easy to place on the target and their opponents rarely have the hang of keeping these balls low.

It's really inside the court that your one handed backhand becomes an asset: when you are forced to adjust, to hit low skidding balls, to hit while moving forward... it's a ton easier to have a one handed backhand. With that said, it can be long and tricky to learn and, at the baseline, the two handed backhand does have an edge. You probably hit deeper balls than your peers, especially cross-court and on the return of serve and you can afford to hit from a neutral or even an open stance while the 1HBH people must keep their stance closed all the time.

If you feel like you hit a solid backhand, do not change. If you feel like it doesn't fit your game anymore, do not waste time trying to built a 1HBH out of scratch: get a good coach, even if for only one or two lessons, and learn the basics first.

arnelarsen 01-10-2013 07:55 AM

Thanks for the many replies - there are some really good insights among these. In fact the reason for my question is that in my teens and early 20s I used a one-handed backhand (topspin), after which I took a break from tennis for more than 20 years. When I picked up tennis again a few years ago, I decided to learn a two-handed backhand, since I always felt that my one-handed backhand produced too many errors. The latest years I have been switching back and forth between the one-handed and two-handed topspin backhand, although mostly using a two-hander. My two-handed backhand is much more stable and accurate, but on the other hand, I feel my slice and volleys become worse in the periods of using the two-hander. I don't like that, since my volleys are normally one of my biggest strengths (I am 6'4). At the moment I can beat some players (in their 20s and 30s) when using a two-hander, who I lose to when using a one-hander. If I slice, they hit winners or make me run more than I like (I mostly play on red clay), and if I use a one-handed topspin backhand, I make many errors when under pressure. On the other hand, the way I am hitting my groundstrokes at the moment (lots of pace and spin), will not be possible in some years, in fact, I can already feel it being a bit too hard on my body (especially my back, right shoulder and wrist). As mentioned, I would like to compete in senior tournaments the next 20 years (I am 51 now) and I would rather prepare myself now than later. The options I consider at the moment are:
1) As now, use my two-hander for almost all backhand strokes (accepting my slice and volleys get worse)
2) Improve my slice backhand by using it for almost all backhand shots except passing shots, where I would use a one-handed topspin backhand
3) Improve my slice backhand by using it for almost all shots except returns and passing shots, where I would use a two-hander

Best

Arne


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