High Backhand

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by edisoncharger32, May 9, 2007.

  1. I am a high school player.
    On my backhand side, I can normally get pace and placement on low backhands whether I hit top or flat. But once the ball goes above my waist, I can't seem to get either pace or placement or proper spin on the ball. If I open up early, I can go crosscourt with a modest amount of speed, but it is not very consistent or well-palced. With that stroke, I also can't go down the line with any accuracy or speed. As I play doubles, this handicap has killed my game.
    I've tried many of the usual fixes, but slicing high to low, keeping my shoulder in, stepping into the ball, or backing up to take it in a comfort zone....none of these have worked. If anyone has advice, it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    Certainly one of the tougher shots to deal with since we're all weaker with that high backhand. That's why lobbing over the backhand side of an opponent up at the net is so effective.

    Sometimes I deal with a higher ball on either side by getting more directly behind it so that I can swipe across it and send it back with sidespin. I was just knocking around with it on my forehand side one day and was surprised by how effective it was; I can't go too close to the sidelines with that shot because of the curveballs that it produces, but the spin helps me swing away and keep the ball down on the court.

    I could also talk about taking a higher backswing or moving in on the ball to take it on the rise, but sometimes we just have to deal with that higher ball. This might be one of those issues that you want to make get a lesson for to straighten it out - a trained eye can often pick out problems that you're not even conscious of.
  3. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    May 8, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    This is a problem I had when I went to a one handed backhand, not sure which one you are using. It took a lot of practice, but the breakthrough came when I learned that I was coming up and staying too high with my body on higher balls.

    With low balls, it's easy to get down, because well....you have to and it's natural. On high balls, you also have to load the legs and body and stay balanced. Just bend the knees a little, load, and release through the contact zone and don't lift up with your body or head.

    You mention low to high. You have to be very careful here. Don't think low to high so much as getting your racket close to the height of the ball on the takeback, and then *drive* through the ball with a moderate swing. You uncoiling will give the power. It they are netting, then you may have to adjust your grip.

    Try these tips...

    1. Slight knee bend and good shoulder turn
    2. Racket close to ball height
    3. Release into the proper contact point - critical here...must be out front or you collapse your structure and lose your mechanical advantage for power.
    4. Stay down through the shot!!!
    5. Practice, practice, practice - so you trust it during a match.

    Although it took me literally....yes literally years to dial this in...it certainly doesn't have to for others. That high backhand is a hard shot, because it causes people to change their form, and many times, they don't realize it.
  4. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2006
    In the last month, alone, there have been ten or more threads on this exact topic. A search, or just browsing through the last few pages of topics will get you hundreds of suggestions.
  5. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

    Oct 3, 2004
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Lift your arms up.
    Then hit flat at the level of the ball.
    Semi western grip is much better for these than a Continental.
    Eastern is ok too.
    Edit in ....
    Look at it this way.
    Take the racquet and place at head height with the tip/top of the frame pointing to the side fence and strings parallel to the net.
    Now reach up and naturally grab the handle.
    Notice that you will be in a SW grip naturally.
    An Eastern requires you to bend your wrist in to a weak position.
    Continental is even worse.
    Try using this SW grip against a wall or a ball machine and see how much easier these high balls will be.
    Dont forget to raise your arms and let the ball come back to your body.
    Hope this helps
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  6. Thomas Bird-Itch

    Thomas Bird-Itch Semi-Pro

    Feb 27, 2007
    Just use a higher backswing ...otherwise: grow, wear stilts/high heeled shoes/etc, or just switch to a 2H like everyone else. ;)
  7. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

    May 10, 2007
    I'd say you need to hussle more... not rush. Hussle means you get into position as quickly/explosively as possible, but don't be so "excited" that you made it to the ball that you rush, and forget your form/technique so........ GET INTO POSITION then either hit it on the rise or 60% of the time a high backhand probably won't have much pace so again hussle, move your feet and run around it and hit a forehand.
  8. richw76

    richw76 Rookie

    May 10, 2007
    oh yeah and this is mainly a stop gap at some point you'll need to do what smoothtennis suggests, basically practice more and get better ;-)

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