Advice Needed Please: How modify racquet for better OHBH?

Hello Everybody,

I am a 4.0 player who recently switched from a THBH to a OHBH. I am a baseline player and play with the 2015 Blade 98 18x20 strung with RPM blast at 45. I have added some weight to the handle to make is 12oz strung. It played well as a THBH but with a nagging biceps tendon injury, the OHBH does not exacerbate it so I am using that much more and want to improve upon it. Is there a recommended way of weighting the racquet to make it more OHBH friendly? Certain areas around the hoop as opposed to the handle? Is it better to have a head-heavy racquet for this particular shot?

Thanks,

Joe

P.S. Also, if you have any recommendations for shoulder exercises for the OHBH, that would be great as well. I really want to make it a reliable, consistent stroke! Thanks.
 

emhtennis

Semi-Pro
Look up prospect customization on Instagram, they also have a discord server.

I general, most one handed players feel better with a more head light balance. More polarized (wgt at base and tip) will also feel better. Both of these help the racket move faster thru the "pivot point" of the groundstrokes and make the racket more maneuverable in the ready position

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Rosstour

Hall of Fame
I general, most one handed players feel better with a more head light balance.
Agree w/this. The first racquet I did a decent 1HBH with was the Sampras St Vincent PS. With my normal racquet, the HH balance just made it too whippy and not stable enough.
 

emhtennis

Semi-Pro
I hit a decent 1HBH for fun, but my "business" backhand is with two. One of the only stock rackets I've felt equally comfortable hitting both with is a Prestige Mid.

It is HL and also somehow feels like a lot of the rest of the mass in in the lower hoop and throat. So combined, every shot feels nice and solid.

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lim

Semi-Pro
Would definitely recommend some lead to 3/9 and adjust the weight at handle as necessary to get enough hl balance. 360g is around the sweet spot for me in terms of enough mass for good plow w/o it feeling like a log. If you are dead even at 12 oz right now that gives you ~20g to work with.
 

bkfinch

Semi-Pro
Two cents: especially if you just switched over from a THBH, don't make the racket more demanding than it needs to be (so you limit what you struggle with). Headlight balance and reasonable weight & swingweight help in ease of preparation/takeback and accelerating through.

Resistance band work has helped me, I think.
 
Thank you all so much for your input. I’m thinking of changing my grip to leather then adding a little lead in the hoop for more momentum with the swing through. Does it matter if I add, it straight at 12 or split the difference at 3 and 9?

Thanks
 

emhtennis

Semi-Pro
If you have a reel I would try both and see how each feels, and then try it in all 3 places at the same time.

To start with i would put it at 12 only. 12 let's you use the least amount of (real) weight for the biggest change in balance and swingweight.

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Zoolander

Hall of Fame
A HL balance i find is much preferable for a 1HBH. I trimmed the bumper off my blade to lighten the hoop a bit for more maneuverability.

Adding weight at 12 will feel different to 3&9. Best way is to use a few grams of bluetac and experiment, then add some lead. But the blades are only around 3HL anyways and adding weight to the hoop will only make them less 1HBH friendly.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Problem with improving the racket for a 1HBH is it may throw off the racket for the FH and serve. I find that many strokes have different "preferred" setups so you end up having to sacrifice something if you modify for a specific stroke.

For instance, I serve better with 320 SW rackets, hit forehands best with 330 SW rackets and hit 2HBH's best with 340 SW rackets. So I tend to compromise with 330 SW rackets for the most part. I'd never fine tune a racket for a BH stroke. Serve and FH are more important.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Adding weight to the head of the racket will require more force to accelerate the racket. If you add weight to the butt of the racket you still have the weight you had before to accelerate but also the added weight even though the SW or force needed to accelerate the racket increases very little.

To make the racket easier to get around you either need to move weight from a higher point to a lower point, remove weight at head, or shorten the racket. I would go for making the racket shorter. An easy way to make the racket is to buy a new butt cap. You can cut the end out of the bottom of the buttcap so it slides up higher on the pallet. Moving the butt cap up lowers the balance and SW by allowing you to basically choke up on the handle.
 

d-quik

Professional
Thank you all so much for your input. I’m thinking of changing my grip to leather then adding a little lead in the hoop for more momentum with the swing through. Does it matter if I add, it straight at 12 or split the difference at 3 and 9?

Thanks
gunna disagree (not completely, only in part) with @emhtennis here about the polarization. its very important to 'pick your weapon' with more thorough knowledge and understand the pros and cons of each and it all boils down to the question of "Are you trying to generate your own pace, or use the opponent's". i do agree that on slower surfaces a depolarized setup stands no chance.

the FIRST OF TWO CHOICES is as @emhtennis has mentioned is the polarized version. when you think of good OHBH its true most used lead at 12 or 2&10 (kuerten, haas, thiem, wawrinka, gaudio, federer) but all these players have long loopy strokes. the weight at the tips force you to play this style as most of the pace will comes from accelerating that weight through the contact point. this one is for generating your own pace as the most iconic images of OHBHs i have ingraind in my head are of wawrinka, kuerten, and thiem. if this style you will probably looking at a stick with a smaller than avg grip size and a 6-10 pts HL

the SECOND OF THE TWO is the depolarized version. the balance point will be around 4-7 pts HL (remember the kps-88?), and the lead will be mainly at 3&9. but back in the day the sampras, becker, and blake played in this style and they were not slouches either. they are not going to rip giant winners off that wing like the kuertens, federers, wawrinka, or thiem, but the larger grips and the depolarized frame helps them deal with INCOMING pace rather tahn generating their own. the larger grip and depolarized weighing is going to help with volleys and hitting on the rise. with the other setup hitting on the rise will be a lot harder since again, the swings of those players tend to be longer. the depolarized version is going to help a lot for mortal players like us on quicker surfaces against heavy pace as it will let u reditect the pace with pinpoint accuracy and the setup helps with volleys.

if you play mainly outdoor and/or on slower surfaces please understand that the polarized option is a must. weight of shot matters here and not so much pace/accuracy. the players dont hit flat there and if you are not using the time given to you from slowness of the surface to do the longer swingpath, the other player who is using that extra time will push you off the court with it.

so the more complete answer would be > 'it depends'

1) are you generating your own pace (pol is better) or using the opponents (depol is better)? you are going to need the mass at the tips if your are generating your own
2) are you playing mainly on a slow (pol is better) surface or a slick one (depol is better)?
3) are you playing with a long (pol is better) swingpath or an abbreviated (depol is better) stroke?
4) are you going to be returning aggressively or hitting OTR a lot (depol is better) or very infrequently (pol is better)

and this one im not to sure of but i put it here anyways

5) are you using a smaller than avg (pol is better) grip size or above avg (depol is better)?

yes i've thought about this... alot (too much). but the depol setup has lower potential for pace generation but is way way better for the HANDLING of pace. the polarized setup allows ur offensive shots to be really heavy, but your defensive shots may suffer because you dont have time to swing the thing. the depolarized setup lets you play relatively aggressively on both offense and defense, but you sacrifice the maximum potential pace.
 
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d-quik

Professional
remember the best returners (pre-switch djoko, agassi, connors) all use depolarized but they are two handers. the logic still applies though. this is not a coincidence. it just deals with pace better this way. when the pace is supplied you gotta do something different naw mean?

for polarized setups you are going to want
11.6-12.2oz static weight
330+ swingweight minimum
6-10 pts HL
lead only at 2&10 or 12, with handleweight to counter
smaller/thinner grip, rounded price/babolat style shaped

for depolarized setups
11.8-12.4oz static weight
320-350 swingweight
4-8 pts HL
lead only at 3&9, also with handleweight to counter
larger/thicker grip, rectangular/elogated wilson/dunlop/head style shaped handle

alright good luck experimenting!
 
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Dragy

Hall of Fame
gunna disagree (not completely, only in part) with @emhtennis here about the polarization. its very important to 'pick your weapon' with more thorough knowledge and understand the pros and cons of each and it all boils down to the question of "Are you trying to generate your own pace, or use the opponent's". i do agree that on slower surfaces a depolarized setup stands no chance.

the FIRST OF TWO CHOICES is as @emhtennis has mentioned is the polarized version. when you think of good OHBH its true most used lead at 12 or 2&10 (kuerten, haas, thiem, wawrinka, gaudio, federer) but all these players have long loopy strokes. the weight at the tips force you to play this style as most of the pace will comes from accelerating that weight through the contact point. this one is for generating your own pace as the most iconic images of OHBHs i have ingraind in my head are of wawrinka, kuerten, and thiem. if this style you will probably looking at a stick with a smaller than avg grip size and a 6-10 pts HL

the SECOND OF THE TWO is the depolarized version. the balance point will be around 4-7 pts HL (remember the kps-88?), and the lead will be mainly at 3&9. but back in the day the sampras, becker, and blake played in this style and they were not slouches either. they are not going to rip giant winners off that wing like the kuertens, federers, wawrinka, or thiem, but the larger grips and the depolarized frame helps them deal with INCOMING pace rather tahn generating their own. the larger grip and depolarized weighing is going to help with volleys and hitting on the rise. with the other setup hitting on the rise will be a lot harder since again, the swings of those players tend to be longer. the depolarized version is going to help a lot for mortal players like us on quicker surfaces against heavy pace as it will let u reditect the pace with pinpoint accuracy and the setup helps with volleys.

if you play mainly outdoor and/or on slower surfaces please understand that the polarized option is a must. weight of shot matters here and not so much pace/accuracy. the players dont hit flat there and if you are not using the time given to you from slowness of the surface to do the longer swingpath, the other player who is using that extra time will push you off the court with it.

so the more complete answer would be > 'it depends'

1) are you generating your own pace (pol is better) or using the opponents (depol is better)? you are going to need the mass at the tips if your are generating your own
2) are you playing mainly on a slow (pol is better) surface or a slicke on (depol is better)?
3) are you playing with a long (pol is better) swingpath or an abbreviated (depol is better) stroke?

and this one im not to sure of but i put it here anyways

4) are you using a smaller than avg (pol is better) grip size or above avg (depol is better)?

yes i've thought about this... alot (too much)
Do you gauge polarization as MgR/I value? Or some other approach? How would you compare polarization of two frames with same SW and mass, yet different balance point? If MgR/I, what value spectrum is for polarized, and what for depolarized?
 

d-quik

Professional
for sp
Do you gauge polarization as MgR/I value? Or some other approach? How would you compare polarization of two frames with same SW and mass, yet different balance point? If MgR/I, what value spectrum is for polarized, and what for depolarized?
What are those units though? Polarization, for me, mean distribution of weight
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Do you gauge polarization as MgR/I value? Or some other approach? How would you compare polarization of two frames with same SW and mass, yet different balance point? If MgR/I, what value spectrum is for polarized, and what for depolarized?
Polarization is more weight toward the ends of the racket the head and butt. If your SW and weight are the same you RW must be lower, and your balance must be higher. The lower your Recoil Weight the less polar a racket. RW is a direct measurement of how polar a racket is no mater what any of your other specs are. RW tells you how the mass is distributed around the center of mass. The higher the RW the higher the SW for any given mass and balance.
 

Yamin

Rookie
Lots of good info in this thread. Personally picked up a v7 blade because of how fun it is to crush everything, but I'm recovering from an injury and the blade's balance is not great for 1hbh. I tried adding weight to the handle for a slightly more H/L balance and it didn't play well.

Low static weight, high swing weight, and heavier head are defining characteristics of the blade. Might be worth looking into another racket instead of trying to make it into something completely different.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
Problem with improving the racket for a 1HBH is it may throw off the racket for the FH and serve. I find that many strokes have different "preferred" setups so you end up having to sacrifice something if you modify for a specific stroke.

For instance, I serve better with 320 SW rackets, hit forehands best with 330 SW rackets and hit 2HBH's best with 340 SW rackets. So I tend to compromise with 330 SW rackets for the most part. I'd never fine tune a racket for a BH stroke. Serve and FH are more important.
Agree with everything said here, i find it interesting you serve better with a lower SW though!
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
for sp

What are those units though? Polarization, for me, mean distribution of weight
Ask @travlerajm maybe.
I get it with the weight distribution, but how you measure it in final specs of the stick, and what is the middleground in your opinion?
- For two sticks with same static weight and same balance the one with higher SW will be more polarized.
- Adding mass to the balance point makes stick more polarized.
 

Tennisist

Semi-Pro
Sorry to say this, but, for some reason, I was never able to get BLADE working with my OHBH. Its head is too heavy. I've tried adding all kind of weights to the handle -- to make it more head-light -- to no avail. I still could not play with it. Specifically, because of the backhand. When I use Wilson PS 97 ( regular ) -- 336 g/ 8 pt HL -- not a slightest problem!. Backhand just snaps into place, and becomes as good as I ever remember it to be.

So, my recommendation for you will be to try a different racquet altogether. Racquets which are ~7-9 pt HL from the factory work best for me and OHBH.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Ask @travlerajm maybe.
I get it with the weight distribution, but how you measure it in final specs of the stick, and what is the middleground in your opinion?
- For two sticks with same static weight and same balance the one with higher SW will be more polarized.
- Adding mass to the balance point makes stick more polarized.
The final weighting specs (mass, balance, swingweight, and twistweight) are insufficient to specify the degree of mass polarization. You can have 2 frames with the exact same weighting specs, and they will swing through the air the same, but the feel at contact and ball response might be quite different, with completely different dwell time and performance.

I would suggest using a combination of MgR/I, Dynamic Frequency, and Swingweight to determine polarization. MgR/I tells you the Swing Dynamics (how fast it will naturally come around on a forehand), the Dynamic Frequency tells you the Impact Dynamics (how the impact will feel), and the Swingweight gives you a good proxy for the inherent power potential (how fast the ball will rebound).
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
The final weighting specs (mass, balance, swingweight, and twistweight) are insufficient to specify the degree of mass polarization. You can have 2 frames with the exact same weighting specs, and they will swing through the air the same, but the feel at contact and ball response might be quite different, with completely different dwell time and performance.

I would suggest using a combination of MgR/I, Dynamic Frequency, and Swingweight to determine polarization. MgR/I tells you the Swing Dynamics (how fast it will naturally come around on a forehand), the Dynamic Frequency tells you the Impact Dynamics (how the impact will feel), and the Swingweight gives you a good proxy for the inherent power potential (how fast the ball will rebound).
If we need to get this down to the subject of this thread... I’d suppose best OHBH stick should pack:
- Decent SW (and TW, but that’s a bit separate matter) to plow through the ball without extra arm support;
- Headlight balance to not be sluggish and come around from buttcap forward to contact naturally;
- Whippy (high MgR/I?) to allow for good “flare” action with racquet head coming from below to above the hand through contact.

So I conclude I wouldn’t seek for extra SW in expense of balance and easiness to come around. So it seems to me we need depolarized setup with healthy SW.
 

emhtennis

Semi-Pro
If we need to get this down to the subject of this thread... I’d suppose best OHBH stick should pack:
- Decent SW (and TW, but that’s a bit separate matter) to plow through the ball without extra arm support;
- Headlight balance to not be sluggish and come around from buttcap forward to contact naturally;
- Whippy (high MgR/I?) to allow for good “flare” action with racquet head coming from below to above the hand through contact.

So I conclude I wouldn’t seek for extra SW in expense of balance and easiness to come around. So it seems to me we need depolarized setup with healthy SW.
Solution? Buy a Volkl C-10 Pro

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socallefty

Professional
You are just switching to a 1HBH at the 4.0 level - you need to take lessons and not blame your racquet or think the racquet can be modified to be a magic cure. The 1HBH usually requires more spacing from the ball than a two-hander and has to be hit much earlier in front to generate pace/spin - it takes time to change your footwork and takeback timing.

If your racquet is not too heavy in static weight or head-heavy balance to negatively impact your one-handed FH, then it probably is not the main issue preventing you from having good racquet-head speed on your 1HBH. Hit the ball earlier than with your two-hander and try to extend your arm fully after contact to hit out freely and your BH will likely show improvement.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
If we need to get this down to the subject of this thread... I’d suppose best OHBH stick should pack:
- Decent SW (and TW, but that’s a bit separate matter) to plow through the ball without extra arm support;
- Headlight balance to not be sluggish and come around from buttcap forward to contact naturally;
- Whippy (high MgR/I?) to allow for good “flare” action with racquet head coming from below to above the hand through contact.

So I conclude I wouldn’t seek for extra SW in expense of balance and easiness to come around. So it seems to me we need depolarized setup with healthy SW.
I am not an expert in 1hbs. But the one thing I can confidently say is that high swingweight is generally advantageous, as a 1hb relies more on the inertia of the racquet head for stability and control compared to other strokes. I did some analysis of pro specs a few years ago, and the top players with 1hb had significantly heavier racquets on average compared to 2hb players. The interesting thing was that the difference between the two groups suggested that the 10g difference was centered about 5” from the butt. This suggests that 1hb players may prefer higher MgR/I (a bit more handle weight) than 2hb players. Of course, it’s likely that the 10g extra for the 1hb players was typically distributed with most of it lower in the handle than 5” with a bit of it in the hoop.
 

Tennisist

Semi-Pro
If we need to get this down to the subject of this thread... I’d suppose best OHBH stick should pack:
- Decent SW (and TW, but that’s a bit separate matter) to plow through the ball without extra arm support;
- Headlight balance to not be sluggish and come around from buttcap forward to contact naturally;
- Whippy (high MgR/I?) to allow for good “flare” action with racquet head coming from below to above the hand through contact.

So I conclude I wouldn’t seek for extra SW in expense of balance and easiness to come around. So it seems to me we need depolarized setup with healthy SW.
Fully agree with the summary above.

I would only add this:

-- Decent Twistweight / Tortional Stability

I find that my OH backhand is significantly more reliable and precise with Wilson PS 97 ( and especially with RF97 ), than, for instance, Volkl C10.
Volkl C10 would spray the balls for me when it comes to heavy hitting. PS does not. I attribute it to the significant Twistweight of PS ( and also overall rigidity ).
 

Dragy

Hall of Fame
I am not an expert in 1hbs. But the one thing I can confidently say is that high swingweight is generally advantageous, as a 1hb relies more on the inertia of the racquet head for stability and control compared to other strokes. I did some analysis of pro specs a few years ago, and the top players with 1hb had significantly heavier racquets on average compared to 2hb players. The interesting thing was that the difference between the two groups suggested that the 10g difference was centered about 5” from the butt. This suggests that 1hb players may prefer higher MgR/I (a bit more handle weight) than 2hb players. Of course, it’s likely that the 10g extra for the 1hb players was typically distributed with most of it lower in the handle than 5” with a bit of it in the hoop.
For me it makes perfect sense that 2HBH players use lighter handles. Hands are basically part of racquet as we hit, while wrist is the hinge (not completely loose though, but still linking much less dose of the forearm mass to impact the stroke, while hands are all there with the handle). Lack of second hand in the handle asks for extra mass, even if it’s just a partial compensation.
I just think you won’t be fond of hitting OHBH with a HH 350 SW frame.
 

tennisbike

Professional
... 10g difference was centered about 5” from the butt.
I second adding mass about 5" from the butt. Almost all my sticks have nickels under OG above my hand position on the grip. In general, the sensation is that the racket feels faster/quicker with the nickels. Try that, it is easy to do and easy to remove.
 
I second adding mass about 5" from the butt. Almost all my sticks have nickels under OG above my hand position on the grip. In general, the sensation is that the racket feels faster/quicker with the nickels. Try that, it is easy to do and easy to remove.
Hey Tennisbike. That sounds pretty interesting. How do you get the nickels there and how many do you use?

Thanks
 

tennisbike

Professional
How do you get the nickels there and how many do you use?
A nickel weighs 5 grams. So 2 nickels will give you 10 gram more mass.

I play one handed backhand, so basically I have them just above where my hand would be. If you play two handed backhand then you might want to experiment a bit to see where the nickels would not interfere with your grip.

Simply wrap your over-grip as usual until where the you want to place your nickels. If you do not want to use one hand to held the nickels in place just tape them onto the grip first, then wrap the over-grip over it. It is not a rocket science so just experiment with it.

I go cheap and use pennies sometimes when I ran out of nickels. Online it says a penny weighs 2.5 grams but I found them greater. Anyway on some stick I have 4 nickels or pennies. My feeling is that for that much mass say 10 grams, the racket does not swing that much different except it swings faster for me. A playing partner took my advice and agreed that it made the racket come around faster. But he then put 10 grams of lead tape under the replacement grip. He said it felt better for him.

According to Travelrajm, the way to do it is add lead tape to 12 or 2-10 o'clock around the hoop to get the desired "plowthrough", this would make the racket a bit slow. Then add the mass above grip to make the racket fast enough for your swing. I follow this old advise essentially and did not follow his newer advice using formula. It is all subjective anyway, the hand, the feel, in my book.

I had in the past went overboard and messed up a stick, not permanently of course. But since I have so many sticks, I did not go back to try to start over. Yeah, that was the Head Speed MP, fast and fun, but I started added mass and put poly on it. Then the fun kind of gotten bled away. It is reversible though, the thing I did. Unlike others I do not cut short my sticks.

If you follow the journey for say Travelrajm or Shroud, you might notice that they have not stopped experimenting. That means there is no ultimate solution, it is a constant evolution that goes with each individual's journey. For some time, I thought my best sticks were at around 355g. Now they are at around 340 g. Things change. So no need to get hang up on any one thing. Have fun, experiment! Tennis is like life, enjoy life!
 

phanamous

New User
HH racquets don't work for my 1HBH. Polarized doesn't either as it limits my ability for midswing micro adjustments. Rather noticeable since I play on clay where ball bounces are rather inconsistent.

HL, good twist weight, and high static weight is my preference. I usually add a heavier replacement grip to most of my racquets for this reason. Lead tends to go to 3/9 or 4/10 if needed.
The heavy static weight add some stability and plow while the HL allows for faster RHS and mid-swing micro adjustments. I can generate much more topspin with this setup which gives me better consistency.
 
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