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archer 02-07-2013 08:57 AM

Technical difficulty with 2HBH
My 12 y/o daughter has developed a fairly crippling hitch in her 2HBH which has become a complete liability in the pursuit of quality stroke repetition. She's a lefty, if that matters...anyhow, after her shoulder turn, when she takes the racquet back her wrists go from a neutral position and rotate 90 degrees to where her racquet face is facing the ground (pat-the dog, if you will)

And because her preparation is typically late, she does'nt get the benefit of a fluid loop, swing to contact out front. To me, it appears as if she's bi-secting the circle (her loop)...pulling the racquet with bent elbows (which female players are prone to, I think) instead of pushing the with straighter arms to make contact out front. Her contact is way congested close to her body, racquet face too closed, racquet handle ahead of racquet face at contact which causes severe twisting and lack of control.

I'm certainly not an expert, and I'm not quite sure how to help her. She says she cannot feel her hands turning/twisting the racquet handle at take back....I'm concerned that we won't be able to correct/modify this seems like a big problem to me because she cannot hit 5 balls the same and she's dumping so many balls into the net.

Any suggestions to address this problem step-by step? Thanks.

TheLambsheadrep 02-07-2013 09:34 AM

I would focus on her timing first because it doesn't matter what grip she's using, how open or closed the face is, or what motion the back swing goes in if she is hitting the ball late. Contact must be out in front.
Also, if she is cramped on standard backhands, she just needs to be further from the ball so her arms can extend.
The last of the initial things I would examine is the grip, just make sure her hands are in the correct place every time.

While I am a learning student of advanced level tennis myself, I have coached elementary-middle school aged children for many many years, and I just got a job in my new living area as a 10U junior tennis coach, so I am better at breaking down issues for younger players than older players. You just need to smash any bad habits she has by making her uncomfortable. If she is making contact late, start with tossing balls and tell her to swing as early as she can while still making contact. Doesn't matter right away if they are good shots or not, but it's getting her to make hitting early a new habit. Similarly, toss her balls and have her make contact as far away from her body as she can.

Even though they are similar, do the two drills separately. The point is to make her initially uncomfortable, and then you need to explain why she needs to hit earlier and farther out from her body. With those ideas in her mind, and constant reminding from you, she will eventually and naturally find a new comfortable hitting zone that has her hitting early and farther out with success.

With the grip, if you need to change it to correct it, after every backhand have her replace her hands where they need to be and have her tell you where they are. Eventually, she should start to make a mental note of where her hands should be and it will be natural, but have her do this until it is definitely natural and she can show you that it is.

It's all about making good habits, so whenever she starts deviating from what she should be doing, start this process again. I also find that it helps to be creative, using terms like "pat the dog" and "check your watch" really do stick for children. If you make terms more personal for your daughter they will stick even more. Also, I have no problem with young players watching pro videos, but slow motion is the best way to go. Watch it with her, show her all the things the pros are doing that you are trying to get her to do naturally, and explain (to the best of your ability) why they are doing them. I am also a fan of making your own videos, so if you film her before you start to make the adjustments and show her what she is doing wrong, it should help her thinking process. Take as much video as possible, especially after she makes a good habit so you can show her the difference. I am a visual learner so I know it helps me.

BevelDevil 02-07-2013 10:15 AM

Perhaps have her keep her right arm (back arm) straight from the backswing through contact. This should help reduce the variability in her swing.

LeeD 02-07-2013 10:25 AM

Lots of 2hbh have no loop on the backswing whatsoever. It's OK and quicker to the ball.
Her dropped racketface might have to do with a strong switched eBACKhanded left hand, or a strong grip right handed. Most 2hbh use conti left hand, and eastern backhand lefty forehand. That limits the racketface drop and allows a sliced 1hbh conti backhand for low and wide balls.

archer 02-07-2013 10:41 AM

I appreciate the responses. I have and will continue to toss her balls to get her to make contact out front. I've taped her and she sees what the problems are...I'd like to think that she understands it intellectually, and can discern the difference when watching slow motion professional/advanced players.

Any suggestion, visual, far, she goes right back to the extreme twisting (closed racquet face) Tell her to keep arms/wrists neutral straight, and it doesn't register. I understand that some pronation on the take back/swing to contact is normal, but hers is extreme for a 2HBH.

Is it so ingrained in her..."muscle memory." that breaking out of it will be too difficult?

TennisCJC 02-07-2013 10:57 AM

I would try this.

Go to youtube of fuzzyyellowballs and get some video of Agassi and Safin hitting 2 HBH that show there prep position. You should see them swith the non-dom hand to a strong conti and the L hand in a E or E/SW grip. You should also see that their hands are between their shoulders even after they have turned their shoulders. The racket head will be above the hands but not quite straight above the hands like a FH prep.

1. Have you daughter perfect her prep position to match Agassi and Safin.
2. Hit her some easy slow balls and have her position the prep and hold it.
3. From the prep position in step 2: have her say bounce (when the ball bounces in front of her, have her say 2 when she starts her swing which will be a small loop with her hands to take the racket head to the bottom of the ball, and have her say pull as she rotates into contact and pulls the racket head thru contact and up and over her dominate shoulder.

Basically, get a perfect grip at prep, hold the prep as long as possible (preferrably until after the boucne), and then take a continuous swing to contact.

Another thing that may help is have her reverse engineer her prep postion. Have her position her racket and body at contact position with shoulder open and racket head just like she wants it exactly at contact. Now, take a backwards loop from contact to prep position - get her wrist and hands in this prep position.

My theory is if she nails a good prep postion with proper grips set which is a strong conti on dom-hand; she can then learn to just relax hands and swing smoothly to contact. No fancy wrist manipulation needed.

BevelDevil 02-07-2013 10:58 AM

Sounds like the pressure is affecting her.

Perhaps stand on the same side of the court and drop the ball right into the proper contact zone. Have her use a shortened back and forward swing and bunt the ball over the net from the service box.

Alternatively, set up a tennis "T-ball" and have her practice on that. It's a low pressure way to set up the ideal contact point and work on her mechanics. To improvise a tee, use a stool with an upside-down cup on top, with a ball on top of that.

TheLambsheadrep 02-07-2013 11:36 AM


Originally Posted by archer (Post 7198124)

Is it so ingrained in her..."muscle memory." that breaking out of it will be too difficult?

No. Never give up!

Here's a drill we do for beginners. First let me say that even if your daughter is an advanced player, it's ok to treat this problem as if she was a beginner. There is no shame with tearing something bad down and building it up the right way from scratch.

But to the drill - have her stand on the T of the baseline. You're standing in/around the doubles alley of her backhand side (also on the baseline) with a bucket of balls. Yell "go" and have her run/shuffle (however she does her footwork approach) to you and stop where there is enough room between you and her for her to extend the forward swing. When she gets to you and stops, THEN have her start the take back, and have her freeze it right before she would swing forward. Observe how she is holding the racquet, based off what you say the racquet face should be back and close to parallel to the ground. Point this out to her and have her rearrange her wrists/arms so the racquet face is perpendicular to the ground (make sure her grip is right, too). Then just drop a ball (out and away like I was talking about before) and off the bounce have her swing all the way through and make contact from that position, don't have her restart the back swing. Then she goes back to the T and does it again. Every time she gets to you, have her take the racquet back and freeze so you can check/readjust her racquet face angle before dropping the ball. When she gets to the point where you don't need to adjust anything, have her run to you but hit a backhand without stopping anything. Just toss the ball so she can hit it like she would during a match (if you think you need to move out of the way just a little bit, that's fine). Definitely video tape this part since it may be hard to see the exact racquet face angle in real time, but it should be obvious whether it is becoming more perpendicular to the ground or not.

I think I can sum up the drill with:

1. Get in the court positions as described above
2. On your word, have her run to you along the baseline
3. Have her stop before getting to you and THEN take the racquet back
4. Freeze the stroke before there's any forward movement and check out the racquet face
5. Make adjustments (if needed) so the racquet face is perpendicular to the ground.
6. Drop a ball and have her complete the swing (and make contact) from her frozen racquet position
7. She returns to the T and the drill is repeated

Nellie 02-07-2013 11:43 AM

A couple of things I would suggest:

1) have her pause the swing right at contact with the ball- a lot of people a mental image of where they should be htting, but have no body awareness of where they are actually hitting the ball. With the pause, you can then take corrective input (extension of the arms/ move the contact point forward). I like the mental image that your are throwing the head of the racquet into the ball.

2) I like to drill the backhand with only a couple of fingers on the forehand hand (left hand in the case of your daughter), so the backhand side hand has to do the work of steering. I find that too much forehand dominance makes the shot too wristy.

3) I would flatten/shorten that stroke by moving her forward and into the court and practice hitting balls on the rise using a very short take back (basically a shoulder turn to prepare the racquet head to the height of the ball). MAke sure she is hitting through the ball and using with a good follow through.

BevelDevil 02-07-2013 11:55 AM


Originally Posted by Nellie (Post 7198252)
2) I like to drill the backhand with only a couple of fingers on the forehand hand (left hand in the case of your daughter), so the backhand side hand has to do the work of steering. I find that too much forehand dominance makes the shot too wristy.

This is interesting, so perhaps there should be some clarification of your terminology. (I'm also not sure if you know his daughter is left handed.)

Can you rephrase this in terms of top/bottom hand?

KayFactor 02-07-2013 06:58 PM

You should keep your elbow close to your body when hitting the 2h backhand. That way you can effectively get the racket into slot position for good lever. It's hard to do so with your arms out to the side.

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