Blakes backhand

Slazenger

Professional
LowProfile said:
This is due to the fact that you are "arming" the ball, or in other words using excessive arm rather than incorporating sufficient hip rotation, shoulder turn, and weight transfer.

The ideal contact point for the extreme eastern backhand is the most far out in front, and it's difficult to get good body rotation and maintain that contact point. It's far easier to do with the contact points of the continental and eastern backhands. The contact point of the extreme eastern backhand, however, makes it easy to simply use arm to hit the ball as the hand position makes up for stability where a weak wrist alone cannot. This arming of the ball is what gives the illusion of driving through the ball. In actuality, you help stabilize a weak wrist by arming the ball with an extreme eastern grip, but you don't achieve a smooth transfer of energy through your body to drive the ball. The continental and eastern backhand grips make this easier to do and this is why I believe they should be taught first.

Fantastic. Very well put.
 

35ft6

Legend
LowProfile said:
This is due to the fact that you are "arming" the ball, or in other words using excessive arm rather than incorporating sufficient hip rotation, shoulder turn, and weight transfer.
I don't arm the ball.
The ideal contact point for the extreme eastern backhand is the most far out in front, and it's difficult to get good body rotation and maintain that contact point.
In my experience, this is not true. For me, the grip didn't make it easier or harder to rotate my body, but hitting more out in front makes it easier to hit on the rise and to keep track of where the ball is.
It's far easier to do with the contact points of the continental and eastern backhands. The contact point of the extreme eastern backhand, however, makes it easy to simply use arm to hit the ball as the hand position makes up for stability where a weak wrist alone cannot. This arming of the ball is what gives the illusion of driving through the ball.
From that I've seen, old schooler's who hit with a continental backhand grip arm the ball way more than people like Ljubicic, Guga, Henin, and Gaudio, who use the extreme eastern. I don't know what's the cause and what's the effect of this observation, but I've never noticed a connection of arming the ball and extreme eastern.
In actuality, you help stabilize a weak wrist by arming the ball with an extreme eastern grip, but you don't achieve a smooth transfer of energy through your body to drive the ball.
Than I consider myself lucky to have somehow managed to smoothly transfer energy and drive through the ball. Things I couldn't do with the other grips. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that the things you're describing don't parallel my personal experience or other players I've watched.
 

35ft6

Legend
Federer The G.O.A.T.! said:
[Round 13: BB wins.]
I come here to express my ideas and to respond to other people's ideas. To me, there's no point in attacking the person. I feel bad saying even what little I did, so BB can win this one and every one from here to eternity. Not really interested in flame wars.
 

35ft6

Legend
Slazenger said:
The continental grip lends itself the most to driving through the ball of all the backhand grips.
This is because, just like the eastern forehand, the position of the hand on the grip aligns the racquet face in such a way that the swingpath is straight through the ball.
It's VERY easy to hit a flat BH from baseline to baseline with the continental grip.
The problem with the grip is that it puts the wrist in a weak position so the racquet face can open if not careful and your balls will sail.
The problem I had with a continental grip was that nothing was "behind" the racket at the point of contact, just fingers. I could immediately hit my backhand better with an extreme eastern with my palm behind the ball. I'm not sure what conventional wisdom on this is but that's my personal experience. Also, in my experience, I could never ever ever hit a two hander no matter how hard I tried. Never. After two years of crappy two hander, I switched to hitting nothing but slices, and then finally I could eventually come over the ball as well.
The extreme eastern lends itself the least to driving through the ball.
For me, I can drive through the ball like crazy, but maybe it's because of the trajectory of my stroke. Like I described earlier, my arm almost travels on a level plane, like a frisbee throw. The top spin comes from me turning my hand during the swing, which elevates the racket head. Similar to Ljubicic's backhand. My follow through often ends with my hand at nipple level, not shoulder.
This is the main reason I don't think it's a good grip to start learning the 1HBH.
I never teach beginners a one hander. It's just too frustrating for them.
Even with perfect timing, it takes more energy to achieve the same depth you would with an eastern BH.
I don't see why this has to be the case, just clear the net higher.
 

Slazenger

Professional
35ft6 said:
The problem I had with a continental grip was that nothing was "behind" the racket at the point of contact, just fingers. I could immediately hit my backhand better with an extreme eastern with my palm behind the ball. I'm not sure what conventional wisdom on this is but that's my personal experience.

The palm doesn't provide support for the 1HBH. For the 1HBH grips the palm isn't behind the racquet handle (like in the classic forehands) but on top of it. It's the thumb which wraps around the back of the racquet handle that provides support.
You apparently weren't hitting the BH correctly with the continental grip. You statement that there was nothing 'behind' the racquet does suggest that you were arming the ball.

Btw if your palm is behind the racquet handle you must have quite an extreme grip.
 

Grigollif1

Semi-Pro
35ft6 said:
And you can win, too. ;)


35Ft You attitude is really nice, althogh we disagree. I think the extreme backhand for a beginner is just not a natural way to start. As it was said before it takes great corndination and timing , especially on hardcourts. Clay perhaps it would be good ideia to learn the western grip but, elsewhere it just takes so much time to execute the looping extreme swing and is just not worth it, in my view.

I know your Case that you started off with a more traditional grip and then had success with a more extreme one but, you have to realize that when you made the swicth you were already a solid tennis player that problably already knew how to use a good part of the body leanning into the shoot. For a beginner though to emulate a shot like Guga or Gauido's Backhand it would just be a nightmare in my opinion. Of course , you can be inspired by their form, footwork , loose arm etc..But those are just are state of the art swings that takes great talent precision and for the amateur tennis player has no business with it in my view...
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
35ft6 said:
I come here to express my ideas and to respond to other people's ideas. To me, there's no point in attacking the person. I feel bad saying even what little I did, so BB can win this one and every one from here to eternity. Not really interested in flame wars.

I am not trying to win anything. I am just trying to state facts regarding Blake's backhand as something to copy. I expressed my analysis regarding what John provides on his website and his backhand.

For a player wanting to copy Blake's backhand is from what I have found is one to consider. I stated excellent reasons why one would want to review, consider, and duplicate Blake's backhand.

He does a lot of things right and does a lot of things people should duplicate. I am not discounting other players backhand. I am not saying Blake's backhand is the best in the business. I am stating that Blake's backhand is one in which fundamental elements in his backhand are performed well.

He is not arming the ball and the video provided in this thread clearly points this out. Blake times the ball very well and it is his shoulder that drives his arm motion through the ball with effortless power.

One needs to seperate his use of his backhand from the substance of it.
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
Mattle said:
Thank you all for such interest, especially you BB. Good stuff. I have a question, would you do me a very big faviour and have a look on some of my strokes if I made a video for you?

Sure, we can compare it to the fundamentals that will help you in developing your backhand. The trouble with some players is they try to duplicate their favorite players backhand without developing the fundamentals.

They rotate forearms, have big backswings, and do things they see on TV without realizing it took years to develop such a "flambouyant" swing.

Players need to master attainable fundamentals before branching off into the pro level swings and swing speeds.

It is like watching the Pipeline Master Series in Hawaii where the professional surfers make it look "so easy". Or the Olympic skiers gliding down a hill making it seem that anyone who hops on ski's can just do what they do. It takes practice, hard work, and repeating the fundamentals over and over again.
 

35ft6

Legend
Bungalo Bill said:
For a player wanting to copy Blake's backhand is from what I have found is one to consider. I stated excellent reasons why one would want to review, consider, and duplicate Blake's backhand.

He does a lot of things right and does a lot of things people should duplicate. I am not discounting other players backhand. I am not saying Blake's backhand is the best in the business. I am stating that Blake's backhand is one in which fundamental elements in his backhand are performed well.
I totally agree with you on the part about him exemplifying solid fundamentals. There are things to be learned from just about any pro shot, even the worst. But like Roddick's backhand, I think Blake's backhand has some things about it that make it less than ideal to copy.
He is not arming the ball and the video provided in this thread clearly points this out. Blake times the ball very well and it is his shoulder that drives his arm motion through the ball with effortless power.
You said that in the video the ball was coming quickly, and that if he had more time his technique would be different. From what I see, it was a normal baseline shot with heavy top spin that landed pretty short (you don't see where it bounces) and he barely had to move for it. His follow through is pretty good, just think he arms the ball too much. I was watching a video of him practicing and even then he looks like he arms the ball a lot. Actually, he's got one of the best forehand on tour and I wouldn't even recommend a person copying that stroke either. He must have the shortest backswing on his forehand in the top 100. I think a person without Blake's athletic ability and strength will find it very difficult to get anything on the ball if they were to copy his backhand or forehand. They're such abbreviated motions. I would recommend a fuller stroke on both wings. Just my opinion.
 

35ft6

Legend
Federer The G.O.A.T.! said:
Yeah, AFTER I toned him down by pointing out his childishness. If you were to confront a thief in action, would you think he would continue to steal right in front of you?
Fed the Goat, dude, your posts have absolutely no influence on me. Really, don't take the intranets so seriously.
 
35ft6 said:
Fed the Goat, dude, your posts have absolutely no influence on me. Really, don't take the intranets so seriously.
Taking the internet so seriously? Yeah, okay . . . I'm the one sitting at home, all tensed up from debating with BB, AND telling him to "grow a pair", right? :rolleyes: LMAO
 

blue03

Rookie
i like to watch blake. his technique looks easy to copy. his service motion also not complicated like other players i see on tv.
i got one question here :

1) when i see blake's backhand, it seems like he grip his hand at the end of the handle, while my grip is not at the end of the handle (nearly at the middle) (i use eastern bh grip)..
so the correct way for 1hbh is to grip at the end of the handle eh?
 

Bungalo Bill

G.O.A.T.
35ft6 said:
I totally agree with you on the part about him exemplifying solid fundamentals. There are things to be learned from just about any pro shot, even the worst. But like Roddick's backhand, I think Blake's backhand has some things about it that make it less than ideal to copy. You said that in the video the ball was coming quickly, and that if he had more time his technique would be different. From what I see, it was a normal baseline shot with heavy top spin that landed pretty short (you don't see where it bounces) and he barely had to move for it. His follow through is pretty good, just think he arms the ball too much. I was watching a video of him practicing and even then he looks like he arms the ball a lot. Actually, he's got one of the best forehand on tour and I wouldn't even recommend a person copying that stroke either. He must have the shortest backswing on his forehand in the top 100. I think a person without Blake's athletic ability and strength will find it very difficult to get anything on the ball if they were to copy his backhand or forehand. They're such abbreviated motions. I would recommend a fuller stroke on both wings. Just my opinion.

You need to look at more film on Blake and his position on the court when he hits his backhands. Blake is not choppy but does have a very short quick motion when he camps along the baseline. On other film, when is deeper behind the baseline, his swing lengthens and he has all the classic elements that go into a good onehanded backhand.

Blake's backhand is volunerable when he is on the run which is why I think he hits a lot of open stance backhands. I scratch my head on this because Blake is so fast. I can only assume he does not see the ball as well on this side compared to other pros. I also think he likes to hit the ball the same as his forehand - which will never happen.

Blake offers the club player a lot of things to "copy" and practice. I don't think it is necessarily his technique but more about how he uses his backhand (mental side) and playing within his limitations on that side. Blake has one of the best hit through backhands in the game.

======================================================
On Friday when they returned to the court, the conditions were much quicker and it was more than 10 degrees warmer outside. Blake came out and took it to his opponent with a huge serve. However, what impressed me the most was Blake's backhand, which looked sharp. When the two were going backhand-to-backhand Blake was continually getting the better of him. More so than any other shot, James' backhand has improved the most.
-- Brad Gilbert
 

35ft6

Legend
blue03 said:
i like to watch blake. his technique looks easy to copy. his service motion also not complicated like other players i see on tv.
i got one question here :

1) when i see blake's backhand, it seems like he grip his hand at the end of the handle, while my grip is not at the end of the handle (nearly at the middle) (i use eastern bh grip)..
so the correct way for 1hbh is to grip at the end of the handle eh?
I choke up on my handle when I come over the ball.
 
Bungalo Bill said:
You need to look at more film on Blake and his position on the court when he hits his backhands.
Yup.

Blake is not choppy but does have a very short quick motion when he camps along the baseline. On other film, when is deeper behind the baseline, his swing lengthens and he has all the classic elements that go into a good onehanded backhand.

Blake's backhand is volunerable when he is on the run which is why I think he hits a lot of open stance backhands. I scratch my head on this because Blake is so fast. I can only assume he does not see the ball as well on this side compared to other pros. I also think he likes to hit the ball the same as his forehand - which will never happen.

Blake offers the club player a lot of things to "copy" and practice. I don't think it is necessarily his technique but more about how he uses his backhand (mental side) and playing within his limitations on that side. Blake has one of the best hit through backhands in the game.
Agreed.
 

Mattle

Rookie
Bungalo Bill said:
Sure, we can compare it to the fundamentals that will help you in developing your backhand. The trouble with some players is they try to duplicate their favorite players backhand without developing the fundamentals.

They rotate forearms, have big backswings, and do things they see on TV without realizing it took years to develop such a "flambouyant" swing.

Players need to master attainable fundamentals before branching off into the pro level swings and swing speeds.

It is like watching the Pipeline Master Series in Hawaii where the professional surfers make it look "so easy". Or the Olympic skiers gliding down a hill making it seem that anyone who hops on ski's can just do what they do. It takes practice, hard work, and repeating the fundamentals over and over again.

How can I send a film to you? :)
 

35ft6

Legend
LowProfile said:
A matter of personal preference.
Yeah, I figured that. Was just wondering why the ;) , as if I was saying up till then that "this is the way it has to be for everybody!"
 

blue03

Rookie
35ft6 said:
Yeah, I figured that. Was just wondering why the ;) , as if I was saying up till then that "this is the way it has to be for everybody!"

yes i meant our own preference. i dont know how to use appropriate smileys...i just like this smiley ;)
 

cheesehead

New User
Blake plays like John McEnroe. Simple, early, on the rise. No surprise that he did well against Nadal. Just like Mac did against Borg
 

RyanRF

Professional
Blake plays like John McEnroe. Simple, early, on the rise. No surprise that he did well against Nadal. Just like Mac did against Borg
Blake 'did well' against Nadal in the same way Roddick 'did well' against Djokovic: It was a simple mistiming of peak levels.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Video starts on Blake's 1HBH backhands at 3:53.
To single frame on Youtube use the period & comma keys. Compare 1HBH shoulder turns.

On his 1HBH drives he does not appear to turn the line between his 2 shoulders much for the forward swing. He uses shoulder joint much more than current 2024 1HBHs in the ATP and Justine Henin. There is hardly any 'chest press' to be seen where the uppermost body turn initiates the forward 1HBH drive.

Did Blake have a weak or strong 1HBH?
 
Last edited:
Top