Backhand for question


When hitting the ball with a one-handed backhand upon striking the ball does your arm need to be straight or slightly bent?


Hall of Fame
That depends on what type of shot you are hitting.
If you mean topspin, some keep it relatively straight and some let the elbow bend. It is all about technique, your technique. Find a wall and start hitting and find out what you think. If Borg ever listened to advice on how to hit a ball, he would have never won 11 Grand Slams.

Mountain Ghost

One-Handed Backhand

I consider myself to be a tolerant person and I encourage others to practice their own “religion”. However, I am definitely a faithful “preacher” of a straight arm on one-handed topspin backhands.

Aside from the sheer beauty of a good one, there are two main reasons for my inclination:

- First off, the racket head has twice as far to travel as the handle does. If the handle leads on the way out of the backswing, there’s a good chance that the head will never have a chance to catch up. The best way to prevent this is for the racket head to be the first part to move. A straight arm allows the arm to rotate, which means the handle can remain relatively stationary as the head starts to come around. If the elbow is bent the arm cannot easily rotate, the handle has a tendency to want to lead and the racket head will be late.

- A second issue is that of elevation control if the elbow is bent. If at the point of contact the arm is straight, the racket face is at a known vertical angle. If the elbow is bent (and/or leading) there are numerous possible angles for the racket face to be in.

Some players don’t use a straight arm because it requires more consistent positioning and balance. If your shoulders are too far ahead of your feet you will be leaning so far forward that rotating the arm is not possible, and your elbow will subsequently bend and lead. That’s why you’ll see the best straight-armed topspin backhanders in the game have excellent upper body balance and keep their shoulders far enough away from the ball to fully extend.