Backhand return??

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Homey, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Homey

    Homey Rookie

    Jun 28, 2007
    I am trying to develop an offensive or at least a non-defensive backhand return.

    I have always had a slice return, but would like to be able to hit an offensive shot from the backhand side.

    I have some questions though:

    I have a semi-western forehand, so do I hold a backhand grip when the person is serving, and then switch grips instantly if he serves to my forehand? Or the hold a forehand grip and try to switch to backhand grip?
    (Right now if I try to switch to backhand grip I am late. Will it just take practice or am I doing something wrong?)

    Should I try to hit topspin backhand returns on both serves or just slice the first serve back and hit topspin on the second serve?

    Does anybody have any good videos or articles online about backhand returns?

    Thanks for the help guys!

  2. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

    Sep 26, 2008
    Central Florida

    I have a 1 hander and prefer to wait on the serve with a backhand grip. I'll tend to slice more on the first serve than the second but that is more due to the fact I'm more stretched out on a first serve. As someone who is naturally inclined to slice, I've found lately that just taking 2 steps further back really has helped my topspin return. Give it a shot, maybe it will work for you. Good luck.
  3. defrule

    defrule Professional

    Jan 11, 2009
    I'm guessing it's a one-hander. Personally I start with continental grip and switch after. In the serve is fast then I stay in continental and block/slice return off both wings.

    From here then if I get a weaker serve I can make the slight adjustment to my eastern forehand or eastern backhand grip.
  4. pabletion

    pabletion Professional

    Oct 2, 2007
    Court No. 1 (or No. 5, when not available)
    try and see what feels better for ya. Wether you have a fh grip or bh grip, you'll still have to switch. Having a continental grip to return, you'll have to switch for any one of the two shots if you intend to hit an offensive topspin return, so its better to choose one of the two grips. Getting to change grips fast is a matter of practice, I think we've all been through that, where we felt there was never enough time to make the switch. I use my western FH grip to return, and if the ball goes to my BH I switch. Since I have a 2hbh, I have my left hand already holding my racquet so its easier to switch. Even so, it took some practice to get to change grips fast.

    If you want to improve your backhand return, try to hold your racquet with your bh grip so you wont have to change for your bh, and try and protect your fh side a bit more so you'll be able to hit more bh returns.
  5. teppeiahn1

    teppeiahn1 Rookie

    Sep 17, 2008
    Its all about who your playing. And dependsonthe serve also.

    If your playing a good lefty with hard breakind slice serve on the add, is realy hard to top that back especialy when you are reaching for it.

    If its body serve, easy takeback and just punch it back flat or with little top.

    I sudgest just strictly working on returns and things will start to come flow natural.

    And most 1 haners wait on their backhand grips. Me personaly have very close forehand and backhand grips, just fliped over so I just wait with my raquet kind of in position that favors the backhand return easyer for me.
  6. In D Zone

    In D Zone Hall of Fame

    Apr 5, 2006
  7. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Oct 4, 2004
    I would prepare with the forehand grip, and move to the backhand grip as I prepare for the shot, essentially holding the racquet with the left arm (if you are a righty) and switching the grip of the right hand during the unit turn.

    For a good return of serve, use a short preparation, long following through. Even the pros will barely bring back the racquet past their back leg. Also, per suggestions above, it is better to start back and move forward while hitting the return. Let the pace of the serve provide the power and, instead, try for clean contact.
  8. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    If someone is firing bullets I'll wait with a continental grip and just block the serve back (no grip change on either side) much like a volley.

    Otherwise, if the grip I start out with depends on which side I think they'll hit to. If I'm wrong, a quick grip change is in order.

    You said you hit a lot of slice backhand returns but want something more offensive. As long as you're not floating your return, a slice backhand return can be quite effective. Especially in doubles, if you can hit that slice low and wide it's a good shot.

    Not everyone has to rip returns like Agassi did. Federer often hits soft returns that are quite effective.

    But, for sure if you get a soft serve that sits up, you want to rip a return. You may have time to run around and hit a forehand, if you recognize it early enough.
  9. naylor

    naylor Semi-Pro

    Jul 26, 2004
    New Zealand
    I'm a rightie and play 1HBH - which means on backhands I have to play the ball in front of the body.

    On a first serve, I set up with my backhand grip (the mirror position to a SW forehand) so if the ball comes to that side I don't have to change grips and can simply step in (or play open stance if I have no time) and play a positive block/punch in front of me with topspin. I figure if the ball goes to my forehand, as I'm still holding the racket's throat with my left hand, I have a little bit more time to change grips back to continental and play a quick flat block on that side.

    On a second serve, however, I set up with my normal SW forehand grip. For these returns, I'm expecting a slower serve and will therefore always aim to play a forehand (running around the backhand as necessary). On second serves going wide to the backhand, I will already have started moving wide but diagonally forward (to run around and not get blocked), and even if the ball is wider than expected and I have to play it on the backhand, I figure I have a bit of time to get back to a more neutral continental grip and slice or block it back. Of course, if my opponent's standard second serve is a kicker to the backhand, then I will set up for it with a backhand grip.
  10. In D Zone

    In D Zone Hall of Fame

    Apr 5, 2006
    Receiving flat serve is much easier to return - line up for racquet parallel to the net (eastern bh grip) and move forward. No take back or back swing. You make contact with the ball on the rise, using the power coming from the ball with the foward motion to punch the serve back. Your return will be fast and long DTL - frequently catching the server off guard.

    Topspin or kick - you will definitely need to either meet the ball early to take a cut on the ball . Or Stepping back behind the baseline, wait for the ball to drop and hit it back.

    There is not magic recipe for returning and you will have to keep attacking the serve with a 1bhb at all times. If you are off or down with confidence, by all means go with the slice - but don't abandon the 1hbh return. It may take awhile to learn it, like everything else it takes practice (unfortunately, you'll have to do it in a match).

    A good way to develop is the 1hbh is when playing against players who have a weak 2nd serve.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  11. BajeDuane

    BajeDuane New User

    Oct 11, 2009
    Houston, TX
    I agree with Nellie. I hold a forehand grip while waiting for the serve, but my left hand is on the throat or 'V' of the racket. As I take the racket back my left hand is turning the racket to the backhand grip.
  12. ryangoring

    ryangoring Professional

    Jun 20, 2007
    Daytona Beach via Barbados
    I had to comment on this, I hold it just in the middle, more so continental. You have more reaction time to block, slice or punch the ball back from either wing. I play 1HBH and a semi western forehand.

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