Calling all one-handed backhanders!

#51
Nick,

Cheers for that.


claycourtextroadinaire
,

Hey Clay! Don't leave! From this moment on I promise we won't over-expose you to too much analysis and debate. Such imparting of 1her tips and advice shall be strictly monitored, supervised and dispensed with great caution. We'll even provide you with specially made glasses designed to filter out geeky tennis chatter... Come back Clay!... Come back!... !!!
 
#52
1) No. You're not trying to hit the ball with the butt cap so there's no point in aiming it at the ball.

2) Don't worry about when you're arm is straight and when it's not. It's not important. What's important is where you make contact with the ball. On a 1HBH, you really have to hit the ball way out in front of your body. On the forehand and 2HBH, this isn't the case, and it takes a while to get used to that. If you hit the ball at the right contact point then the arm straightening takes care of itself. You won't be able to help it.
Pointing the butt cap at the ball is just a reference point for getting the head of the racket back into a good position, to allow a nice uncoiling through the contact zone.

The problem with not worrying about whether the arm get straightened out is that some guys I have helped with this stroke, never get it straight, and wind up with a slighly bent elbow at contact, which is not prefereable. I agree that if someone hit is way out front, they will naturally straighten it out. Some guys however...just don't quite get out far enough naturally. It is just something to be aware of, when 'developing' technique.
 
#53
Just a little update here...

Having learnt the fundamentals and worked quite intensely for a while on that really pacy, topspin shot with the high takeback (as exemplified by Gasquet and Henin), I've found it pretty hard indeed to introduce it effectively into a proper match. Instead I was routinely doing a altogether slower, low-powered, overly careful version which wasn't causing anyone too much trouble. On more of a positive note though, this in turn made me look at my flat bh (for this I utillise a short, straight takeback, give it a very solid, firm and and relatively abrupt strike, ie not the long and raised followthru'.) At least the results with this have been encouraging. I should also add as regards ROS and in general I find it far easier to integrate the 1her than the 2. Basically, my game has become easier and more simplified, and as a result, better. That said though, I've a long way to go with the 1her until it's really a weapon... oh, and btw, as for my slice, it tends to be a little too floaty for my liking, and therefore I tend to use it purely as a last resort.

Please feel free to add your comments on anything 1her-related.

Ross
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
#54
Neat 1H BH tip of the day:

Federer has a textbook classical 1H-BH with Eastern grip. However, he does have one tweak, which gives him a heavier shot than other classical Eastern 1H BHs.

As he's preparing his unit turn, he inverts his racquet by pronating his forearm as much as he can. His racquet remains on edge, but now his wrist is very laid back.

When he starts his forward swing, this creates the amount of forearm rotation or wiping action onto the ball, thereby creating more spin without changing the swing plane. Therefore, he gets a heavier shot.
Okay, now onto a basic checklist for 1H BH . . .

1) First, you want to make sure your wrist is stable but free to rotate. To do this, while practice swinging, hold the racquet with just your index, 4th and 5th fingers. This will cause you to lay the wrist back enough to have a stable foundation, but enable your forearm to rotate through the shot.

2) Next, work on the 1H BH without any takeback whatsoever. This helps a lot in working out the stances, weight transfer and figuring out the contact zone.

2a) Is back perfectly straight when you step through the BH?

2b) Is racquet frame perpendicular to back fence before you initiate forward swing?

2c) Is front foot set before you initiate forward swing?

2d) Are you swinging to the sky with the elbow? Leading a classic Eastern 1H BH with the elbow helps to abbreviate the stroke, improve racquet speed, and above all, swing without opening up the body.

3) Then, add the takeback. The takeback should be a smile pattern, led with the elbow. If you do this correctly, then your body won't open up very much. Practice the smile pattern, leading with the elbow, a few times in order to get the feel down.

3a) Is racquet frame perpendicular to back fence before you initiate takeback? This is very important for both power and accuracy, because you need to have a proper unit turn before you initiate the arms. Without the unit turn, the feet can't give you the power.

3b) At end/height of takeback, is shoulder touching or just under the chin?

3c) Is your back still straight in your forward swing?
And checklist for a Gasquet-style BH. Just for Ross. ;)

1) First, move grip over to a grip between Eastern and SW BH grip. This swing is lateral (or across the body), and thus your wrist needs more support.

2) Second, without any takeback, "draw" the racquet like a sword. Finish, so that your racquet tip points to the top-right fence.

2a) Draw with the elbow or the shoulder.

2b) Your body will open up significantly.

2c) Your stance will be more open than in typical classical 1H BH.

3) Now, visualize the finish for the top-back fence.

3a) Your racquet tip may not actually point to the back fence, but this visualization will cause you to swing forward and then across. This is what you want.

3b) You will notice that the best footwork for power is to step forward (not turn with th ebody), as if you were a samurai drawing your sword from the sheath.

3c) Work on the footwork and the finish until this feels natural.

4) Now, add the back. The takeback should be a C/circular motion instead of a smile pattern. Like a forehand.

4a) Lead with the elbow or shoulder. This will keep the motion compact and give you better power and wiping action.

4b) Try to keep the armpit a little closed (imagine you're holding a ping pong ball in your armpit) as you take the racquet back. This help to keep the takeback abbreviated.

4c) During the backswing, the arm moves into the body.

5) Work through same checklist as step 3 in the "basic" section.

5a) Is racquet frame perpendicular to back fence before you initiate takeback?

5b) At end/height of takeback, is shoulder touching or just under the chin?

5c) Is your back still straight in your forward swing?
 
#56
One Handed Backhand

I have played with a one handed backhand my whole life and the single most important thing for me is to drive through the ball and counter with my right arm (I'm a lefty) which forces me to drive through.:mrgreen:
 
#57
Thanks tricky for above ^

I shall carefully and properly study what I'm sure is some excellent advice later. For now though, just to quickly say...

The Federer tip reminds me of that thing A-Rod does right at the very start of his serve when he inverts his wrist or turns the racquet open and kind of addresses the ball with the frame before the the toss.

Secondly, the top spin motion I've been working on I might describe as a lateral and fairly flat figure 8 (where the racquet head brushes along the thigh), followed by a U shape (on its side) for the followthrough. Judging from the one time I've read your above post, I think this is more a Gasquet style, although you will also not be surprised to hear I've been looking at Henin's bh rather a lot.

On a more basic level though, I just need to get it so that a decent standard top spin bh comes fairly imediately to me, as opposed to the usual long time of toil and error it's presently taking before the timing, rhythm and desired pace kicks in.
 
#58
RossK, this'll sound wierd, but I love you!!! This thread got me thinking what is wrong with my backhand in general. I just got my slice back yesterday and all this new info makes me want to go to the courts and try topspin backhand out (even though it is about 1:30 in the morning :-( ). I would recommend this thread to any one-hander out there. :grin:
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
#62
just imagine yu're b!tch slapping andy roddick after another loss to federer
Greatest tip ever. :D

The Federer tip reminds me of that thing A-Rod does right at the very start of his serve when he inverts his wrist or turns the racquet open and kind of addresses the ball with the frame before the the toss.
Yeah, it's the same trick. I always did that because it was a convenient way to lay back the wrist. And it's actually easy to add to serves, FH, and BHs.

Judging from the one time I've read your above post, I think this is more a Gasquet style, although you will also not be surprised to hear I've been looking at Henin's bh rather a lot.
Ahh, okay. So you ARE going for the Henin/Gasquet-style BH. :D

Kuerten, Henin and Gasquet's BHs are similar (both lateral); Gasquet's more abbreviated.

On a more basic level though, I just need to get it so that a decent standard top spin bh comes fairly imediately to me, as opposed to the usual long time of toil and error it's presently taking before the timing, rhythm and desired pace kicks in.
But it does sound like you want to go for the more exotic Gasquet/Henin variety, which is more difficult to execute than the classical "to the sky" style. That would require working with a different finish and all that.
 

tricky

Hall of Fame
#66
Ross K --

If you want to learn a BH like this, the key thing is to start without the takeback. The difficult part isn't actually the arm, it's making sense how the body and feet work with this kind of style.

Normally you'd assume that you'd have to rotate your body a lot in order to swing the arm around. But that is not the case. Just as with a classical 1H BH, it's still about leg drive and weight transfer. Yes, the stance is more open; yes, your body opens up. But you still set up your unit turn with the feet; your back is still perfectly straight; you still drive the forward swing with your legs, and the weight still shifts toward your front foot. It's really important to get that down before you add in the takeback.

So, when you first try, hold the racquet around your hip, as you would first learning a classical BH without a takeback. Learn to finish with the racquet pointing toward the top part of the back fence. Learn to swing with the shoulder. It's a bit like drawing a sword from the sheath.

After you get the motion down into your muscle memory (which is not easy), then concentrate on the takeback.
 
#67
I would say Henin has a more extreme grip than Gasquet, and Gasquet perhaps slightly more extreme than Federer, but not by much.
This is just a theory, but I find that a more extreme grip is better suited for a shorter person.

If you think about clay court players, many of them use an exteme western grip on the forehand side because the balls bounce so high. In a similar fashion balls to the backhand side of a shorter person bounce higher relative to where their shoulder is than it does for a taller person.

In any case most people have a problem handling high backhands. Of course one can adjust by taking the ball early, but that is typically a harder shot to execute.

I also hit a one handed backhand, but it needs a lot of work.

How to repressurize your tennis balls cheaply
http://blog.neodial.com/?p=25
 
#68
Inspired by that Murray vid that's going around I think it's high time I started putting more efforts into the slice shot. Although a 2her, his 1her slice is VERY pacy and accurate and low. For me, I tend to utilize my slice pretty rarely (too easy for opponent with it hanging up in the air like a balloon!) I usually prefer to the top spin drive option, and probably even when it's the wrong option.
 

zacinnc78

Professional
#69
u need a strong shoulder ....do the rotator cuff exercises ...u can opnly benefit from this and not just on backhand but every other stroke too
 
#70
u need a strong shoulder ....do the rotator cuff exercises ...u can opnly benefit from this and not just on backhand but every other stroke too
Actually I have tried to 'put more shoulder' into my serve and fh, but haven't got round to it yet with my 1hbh. So then... what are these exercises you speak of?
 
#71
One Handed Backhand

I have played with a one handed backhand my whole life and the single most important thing for me is to drive through the ball and counter with my right arm (I'm a lefty) which forces me to drive through.:mrgreen:
Great comment. A fellow lefty with a one-hander here... Any tips on how to keep your eye on the ball when hitting back an incoming cross court shot to your bh? I find that one problem I have is turning slightly to look at the ball so I can track it which then pulls my chest away. Because we get a lot of fast and twisty incoming forehands from right handers, I'm guessing we face a wider variety of spins and pace shots than do righties.

Put another way... What is your thought process when going for a topspin backhand in the corner? This is my weakness always and opponents can easily exploit.

Thanks in advance!
 

Fintft

Hall of Fame
#73
3. Contact point as far in front of you as possible. 99/100 your 1hbh will be off because of positioning and contact point.
Well one past coach (who used to play against Federer as a junior) told me to make an equilateral square triangle starting from the point where the ball is going to bounce and how far away I should be behind it and sideways, in order to determine the point where I place the tip of my foot.
 
#74
Thanks for post, Paul. Yes, actually I think I would like to experiment with sw bh (as I seem to recall Bottle Rocket advising me recently on another thread.)

Yesterday I'm not sure at all what grip I was using on the bh side (I fear, unintentionally, it seemed to be slipping from something supposed to be near a full-eastern into continental mode - as it is indeed accustomed to for the 2her.)

Annnyway... as I use a sw fh already, the thought of not really having to change grips and just hit with the other side of the racquet face for the bh appeals to me... Yeeees... in fact, please do impart any more advise on this grip that you may feel worth knowing.


Also to everyone,

1) Do ppl advocate aiming buttcap at incoming ball? Or right shoulder leaning towards it? Or both? Or something different?

2) What do ppl think on initiating forward swing and keeping the r. arm straight through contact (as I believe I've been advised a few posts above^)?
big fan of the SW bh and forehand and not changing grips.

Because on the bh the sw is more closed you will need to have a higher swing path and make contact a bit more out in front. For the cross court try to aim a bit on the outside of the ball or if you are a righty a bit to the left of the centerline of the incoming ball. Also the contact point is a bit higher than the other grips. It excels on high balls.

Yes do keep the elbow straight. The shoulder should be the "hinge" not the elbow.

FWIW I am a big fan of a simple takeback like in this vid. Draw the sword and let it rip. It makes things easier especially returns. No slicing till you can effectively hit drive returns.

 
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