I'm About To Give Up On This Forehand

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I have played tennis since 2005, I'm 60, and I play only doubles. I started as a 2.5, worked up to 4.0, and fell back to 3.5 about five years ago. I take instruction, and at the moment I would say all of my strokes are competitive at the high 3.5-low 4.0 level -- except my sad, pitiful FH.

My FH is just all wrong. I rarely win a point with it, and I often push just to stay in a rally. I particularly dislike hitting a Xcourt FH and will often bail out with a FH slice, a lob, a DTL shot.

Many pros have tried to fix it; all have failed. I practice whenever I get the chance, including with a ball machine sometimes. My FH swing is not the problem. The problem seems to be that I do not set up on the ball such that it is in my strike zone, and I lack confidence from so many years of having a terrible FH. I do not have any problems with my 2HBH -- I instinctively know how to get myself into position and rarely find myself being jammed or lunging.

So I am thinking of giving up on my 1HFH and hitting a 2HFH instead. It makes sense on some level. I play doubles, so reach and court coverage aren't that important. I do know how to hit a 1HFH if I really needed to (e.g. topspin lob, slice, drop shot). And if I feel comfortable with my 2HBH in any situation, why would a 2HFH be any different?

My pro does not like this idea. I think he sees it as a cop-out. So I think I will experiment with it on my own and see how it feels. Besides, I have heard that one way to improve your 1HFH is to practice hitting some 2HFHs. If I like it, well . . . I'm the client so he will have to deal.

Any pointers on how to start this? Just go out and hit against the wall and drop feed? What should my grip be? Is the whole idea misguided?

I'm getting desperate, folks. I feel like spending all of this practice time and lesson time on my 1HFH is a waste, and it is keeping me from improving other aspects of my game.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I could slice it. I just feel like it's pretty lame not to be able to hit a consistent 1HFH. I mean, I can slice off of my BH and hit a drive. Is it too much to ask to be able to do that with my FH?
 

FlamingCheeto

Hall of Fame
This is a great video to check out. I would also advised NOT doing a 2HFH, as you'll become a habitual chipper/blocker and your depth if any will become nonexistent. Another tip is to exaggerate your left hand as you set up to literally POINT to where you want to hit it as you bring your one hand back to set up.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
This is a great video to check out. I would also advised NOT doing a 2HFH, as you'll become a habitual chipper/blocker and your depth if any will become nonexistent. Another tip is to exaggerate your left hand as you set up to literally POINT to where you want to hit it as you bring your one hand back to set up.
Thank you, I will check this out!

While I do that, why would 2HFH sacrifice depth, though? My 2HBH has plenty of depth and penetration.

I feel like there is some technical reason that people say this, but I don't understand what it might be.
 

FlamingCheeto

Hall of Fame
Thank you, I will check this out!

While I do that, why would 2HFH sacrifice depth, though? My 2HBH has plenty of depth and penetration.

I feel like there is some technical reason that people say this, but I don't understand what it might be.
Bartoli being the only exception I can think of, EVERY 2hFH person I have seen male and female brings both elbows closer to the body with little to NO extension and obvious less backswing, which ultimately leads to constant chipping and blocking of the ball, always with more BACKSPIN than topspin, which allows any good opponent to put the next ball away super easy barely an inconvenience.
 

pencilcheck

Hall of Fame
I have played tennis since 2005, I'm 60, and I play only doubles. I started as a 2.5, worked up to 4.0, and fell back to 3.5 about five years ago. I take instruction, and at the moment I would say all of my strokes are competitive at the high 3.5-low 4.0 level -- except my sad, pitiful FH.

My FH is just all wrong. I rarely win a point with it, and I often push just to stay in a rally. I particularly dislike hitting a Xcourt FH and will often bail out with a FH slice, a lob, a DTL shot.

Many pros have tried to fix it; all have failed. I practice whenever I get the chance, including with a ball machine sometimes. My FH swing is not the problem. The problem seems to be that I do not set up on the ball such that it is in my strike zone, and I lack confidence from so many years of having a terrible FH. I do not have any problems with my 2HBH -- I instinctively know how to get myself into position and rarely find myself being jammed or lunging.

So I am thinking of giving up on my 1HFH and hitting a 2HFH instead. It makes sense on some level. I play doubles, so reach and court coverage aren't that important. I do know how to hit a 1HFH if I really needed to (e.g. topspin lob, slice, drop shot). And if I feel comfortable with my 2HBH in any situation, why would a 2HFH be any different?

My pro does not like this idea. I think he sees it as a cop-out. So I think I will experiment with it on my own and see how it feels. Besides, I have heard that one way to improve your 1HFH is to practice hitting some 2HFHs. If I like it, well . . . I'm the client so he will have to deal.

Any pointers on how to start this? Just go out and hit against the wall and drop feed? What should my grip be? Is the whole idea misguided?

I'm getting desperate, folks. I feel like spending all of this practice time and lesson time on my 1HFH is a waste, and it is keeping me from improving other aspects of my game.
sounds like a mechanical preference, probably due to the lack of flexibility?? All of those which you prefer avoided specific motion that require some flexibility in the trunk and torso.

My guess is if that is true, then it is very likely that you avoided that unconsciously due to the lack of core strength, hips or perhaps you just can't stay low on the shot due to bad form and uses too much knee.

FH slice, lob DTL shot all can be done without staying low on the shot and in doubles a lot of shots are low.

But if that is not the problem, perhaps your opponent is just too good that they respond with low and short balls to force you to not be able to swing FH as they force you to come forward?

Without video it is hard to know what is the problem.
 

FlamingCheeto

Hall of Fame
However if you DO decide to try the 2hfh In my opinion you should use two handed forehand with crossed hands(Seles, Bartoli, Peng Shuai, Hradecka, Kucowa). Right hand is at the bottom(western grip) and left hand is at the top( semi western grip similar to the grip of left hand for two handed backhand). You only change grip of right hand.
 
Personally, I like the idea of the 2-handed forehand.
Then you can just transpose what works for with the backhand to the forehand.
Try it and let us know.
 

mrmarble

Rookie
2hfh is successfully used by 88% of current top 100 ATP players, on their backhand side!
why shouldn’t it work on the forehand?
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
Please post a video of your forehand! 99% of the time I see adults with bad forehands, it is due to being out of position. (btw - I am 5 yrs. older than you so nothing to worry about there)

take your left hand and give the incoming ball a Roman emperor's "thumbs down" signal to the gladiator while the fed ball is coming towards you.
Do not completely close your stance (I am totally guessing here obviously), but get it more towards closed.
In order to reduce the lateness of ball contact, FOR NOW, don't loop your swing, just take it back low.
Now "pull the trigger" and attack the ball with a full swing.

If you feel you are late and not making contact far enough out in front to hit crosscourt, there is a great technique I saw years ago but have not seen since, but the old tennis coach at Morehead State University in Morehead KY showed me this and it worked for me.

Have your coach stand behind you while you are lined up to hit a forehand, he bounces a ball FROM BEHIND YOU going in the path of a forehand. When the ball comes into your vision, it is going away from you and you have to kind of chase it to make contact. Very quickly, your contact point will be further in front.
This will give you more power and also make a cross court forehand easier.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Well, I’ll think about posting a video. In my experience, TT folks enjoy mocking people who post videos, especially women.

that said, you may be onto something with that drill idea, Stapleton.

last week, I had yet another lesson devoted to FH. I noticed that I never misjudged a BH by not moving up to the ball enough. But I made that error many times on the FH. Clearly, I am not moving up enough to FHs.

I would bet I could do your drill solo by tossing a ball up but moving away from me.
 
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socallefty

Legend
A year ago, you said that you had started bending your knee more to get forward weight transfer and you saw good progress. Did this improvement not stick? Also a checklist below on things to watch out for on the FH.

If weight transfer is indeed the issue, then you now know what to fix. Maybe you are a little reluctant to do it because of your previous knee surgeries. But, unless you start bending that front knee to transfer weight forward, your spinny ball will lack forward penetration. Check out what I wrote earlier in post#16 - all the best. Once you diagnose the problem correctly, the solution should not be too complicated to implement.
For me, the swing is the last 20% of the shot and it is obvious that there are pros who have great FHs with a variety of swing types - Sock/Tiafoe nextgen style, Federer/Nadal straight-arm ATP, Djokovic bent arm-ATP, DelPo WTA style, McEnroe/Connors linear style etc. If you look around at the good players in your club, you‘ll see the same variety with the rarest being the Federer/Nadal straight-arm ATP swing.

However, most good players have a lot of commonality with the rest of the FH.

- Their footwork to get to the ball and the way they stop with the back foot first before moving their front foot in line with what stance they want to hit and what spacing they want to have
- The rotation of the hip followed by the rotating of the shoulder and the separation angle between the two
- The way their off-hand stabilizes the racquet during their takeback
- The weight transfer forward which changes depending on the stance, but which contributes a lot to the weight of shot.
- The way their head is still at contact and for a while longer
- In addition to the variance in swing, there is also a lot of difference in the followthrough based on the shot they hit. But, most will have a nice forward swing with a lot of time hitting through the impact zone before they start lifting up well after contact.

So, if we focus on the rest of the shot and execute those correctly using any pro as an example, you don’t have to worry about which swing type to use - do what comes naturally. I taught my son and wife the same Djokovic-style FH swing - my son kept it while my wife gravitated to a WTA-swing on her own and I don’t know why. But as long as they both execute the other fundamentals of the shot, they can hit decent FHs for their level. But, their footwork is still iffy as in particular they don’t stop and pivot with the back foot and ensure they have enough spacing - if they learn that, their FH will dramatically improve more than anything they do with their swing.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I know, SoCallefty! A year later, and my FH still bites.

OK, I looked at the video FlamingCheeto recommended. It looks very helpful. Just a few weeks ago, my pro told me my ready position needed to have elbows out and then drawing my RH elbow back -- like the guy in the video says. It kinda sorta worked, as it got me out of having a too-big backswing.

But the guy in the video is doing something else I think could really help me. For my whole tennis life, I have been told to point the LH at the ball. I think that is part of my problem. If I point at the incoming ball, I am not turning, am I? But if I do what the guy in the video said and keep the LH on the racket rather than pointing at the ball, I will at least have a good shoulder turn. After all, I somehow hit solid 2HBHs without pointing at the incoming ball, so it can't be essential, right?

The third thing that I think will help me is to keep the LH higher than the contact point/RH. I think I sometimes drop the LH, which I know is wrong.

That swing looks like something I could execute because I would only need to change a few things.

So maybe I will find time (in the dead of winter, somehow) to go out and see if I can make this 1HFH work.

If hitting a 2HFH would help me, I would be willing to put in the effort to learn it. But if there is a way to get a better FH without totally changing my FH, that makes sense.
 
I play mixed doubles against quite a few women players.
I can't think of many, actually any, whose 1HFH is better than their 2HBH.
Their 2HBH has more power and is much more consistent.
I have wondered why more women do not play 2HFH like Seles, Bartoli, etc.
If they can win majors at the pro level, surely you can win at 3.5 - 4.0 with 2HFH.
I would suggest you try out 2HFH and see if it works for you.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I could slice it. I just feel like it's pretty lame not to be able to hit a consistent 1HFH. I mean, I can slice off of my BH and hit a drive. Is it too much to ask to be able to do that with my FH?
Apparently?

I played a former Pakistani Davis Cup dude who sliced every ball FH and BH and he was competitive at the 5.5 level in doubles well into his 50s.

J
 

Addxyz

Professional
I saw this video and decided try it.


2HFH is really fun. I know there's some limitations, but one could say the same thing about a 0HBH. You get a easier power and spin at the expense of reach and hitting while on the run.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
About 5 years ago, I played against a former Philippines Davis Cup player, fully 77 years ancient, and he was tough against lower 4.5's. Only slice shots both sides, heavy sidespin passing shots, lots of deep, taunting lobs, and great low service returns.
Just made you hit a lot of balls.
Slice forehand is fine.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I wish my slice FH was decent. There are definitely times it is the better shot to hit (approaches into the BH corner, midcourt shots into the opponents feet, stretched out shots).

There are a lot of women that do struggle with the FH. My advice is really work on the left hand position and the right elbow position as you unit turn.
 
Have you tried going really, really, really simple on the forehand? There's no need to use your second hand to create a simple, abbreviated stroke.

It's super disappointing to hear that your coaches couldn't help you with the stroke, but that's probably because none of them understood the stroke at a fundamental enough level to start at square 1: forehand contact. The first step barely involves turning away from the ball at all. Then, as you turn back towards it, just let the racket flick back, and then forward. That's it. That's step 1 of the forehand. Barely turn, relax the hand, let the racket flick back and forward.

Track the ball in with your eyes, watch it as it bounces, and plan out where you're going to hit it. Then, loosely and slowly, just swing your hand to that point. That's it. No turning fully sideways. No "leg drive." Barely even any "swing." Just relax the hand and then intercept the ball with the racket.

Obviously there's a little more to it than that, but that's the starting point, and anyone can do it.

Please don't give up on the 1HFH, it's INFINITELY SUPERIOR to the 2HFH.

The modern 1HFH is such an unbelievably biomechanically efficient shot that it fundamentally changed the game of tennis as we know it. It's the reason players don't net rush anymore - that particular way of striking a ball works so damn well that you can hit ridiculous passing shots out of seemingly impossible positions, and passing shots out of regular positions are trivial.

Also, you really should post a video. Just ignore the haters. I guarantee I'll be able to help with specific starting suggestions after seeing you hit 10-20 forehands.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
16 years the forehand has stunk? Many lessons, many pros, ball machine, YouTube videos, panel of experts here at TTW? Time to move on from the 1 hfh, imo.You're just beating a dead horse at this point.
 
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PocketAces

New User
Many pros have tried to fix it; all have failed. I practice whenever I get the chance, including with a ball machine sometimes. My FH swing is not the problem. The problem seems to be that I do not set up on the ball such that it is in my strike zone, and I lack confidence from so many years of having a terrible FH. I do not have any problems with my 2HBH -- I instinctively know how to get myself into position and rarely find myself being jammed or lunging.
It would probably help to record video of yourself. Even if you're wary of posting it on a public forum, just seeing video of yourself will help you make an honest appraisal of what you're doing as opposed to your internal feel-based perception of what you're doing (which can be totally off). What's your ratio of practice versus match play? If swing technique isn't the problem, and the issue is mental, do you have a practice partner who will do co-operative and competitive drills with you so that you can subject your forehand to a sliding scale of pressure?
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
It would probably help to record video of yourself. Even if you're wary of posting it on a public forum, just seeing video of yourself will help you make an honest appraisal of what you're doing as opposed to your internal feel-based perception of what you're doing (which can be totally off). What's your ratio of practice versus match play? If swing technique isn't the problem, and the issue is mental, do you have a practice partner who will do co-operative and competitive drills with you so that you can subject your forehand to a sliding scale of pressure?
Yeah, I have seen myself on video over the years. It is straight up terrible. The common thread seems to be that I am capable of making a different error on each FH. This, of course, is due to poor footwork because you can't be consistent when the ball is at a different place every time you try to hit it.

And my practice partner moved away many years ago, and they are very hard to find. :cry:
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Bartoli being the only exception I can think of, EVERY 2hFH person I have seen male and female brings both elbows closer to the body with little to NO extension and obvious less backswing, which ultimately leads to constant chipping and blocking of the ball, always with more BACKSPIN than topspin, which allows any good opponent to put the next ball away super easy barely an inconvenience.
I’m not sure about that.

Most players I know with 2hfh have much better fh than I do. I know that’s not saying much, but still.

Given that my fh is a weakness in my own game, I sometimes regret not going all in on trying to develop a 2hfh in high school.

When I was 16yo, I could hit a much more secure, solid, and accurate forehand by grabbing onto my right wrist with my left hand. This coupled my arms together better with the rest of my kinetic chain, so that my forehand felt more like my trusty 2hb.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
All right. The heavens opened and it is 55 degrees and sunny, and the courts are dry and empty. So I decided to try this 2HFH.

I hit a few off the wall from very close, just trying to see how it felt. I started with Eastern on both hands, pushing with the RH and the LH just going along for the ride. It felt fine.

Then I took my hopper to the deuce baseline, tossed a ball in the air, and hit a FH with both hands. It was pretty good, mostly. I was able to hit Xcourt with confidence, even hitting some angles I could never make with one hand. Then I moved to the ad side and hit some inside out 2HFH. Hmmm, that was harder because the ball often went up the middle when I wanted it Xcourt, but I'm not sure why. I think the contact point needs to be a little farther back so I can reach the right part of the ball? I'm not sure.

I noticed that whenever I tried to "hit the ball hard," I would swat it into the net. I think that means that extension toward the target is essential, so I worked on that as well as being sure I was on my front foot. One benefit was that it seemed a lot more forgiving. I little bit of a reach here, a little bit of a jam there was survivable.

I did think it was hard to hit a solid drive from baseline to baseline, though. Everything had to be perfect. Then again, these feeds were no pace, so maybe depth will be easier with some incoming pace?

It's sure going to be difficult to make this switch when it gets colder and practice isn't possible . . .
 

Addxyz

Professional
All right. The heavens opened and it is 55 degrees and sunny, and the courts are dry and empty. So I decided to try this 2HFH.

I hit a few off the wall from very close, just trying to see how it felt. I started with Eastern on both hands, pushing with the RH and the LH just going along for the ride. It felt fine.

Then I took my hopper to the deuce baseline, tossed a ball in the air, and hit a FH with both hands. It was pretty good, mostly. I was able to hit Xcourt with confidence, even hitting some angles I could never make with one hand. Then I moved to the ad side and hit some inside out 2HFH. Hmmm, that was harder because the ball often went up the middle when I wanted it Xcourt, but I'm not sure why. I think the contact point needs to be a little farther back so I can reach the right part of the ball? I'm not sure.

I noticed that whenever I tried to "hit the ball hard," I would swat it into the net. I think that means that extension toward the target is essential, so I worked on that as well as being sure I was on my front foot. One benefit was that it seemed a lot more forgiving. I little bit of a reach here, a little bit of a jam there was survivable.

I did think it was hard to hit a solid drive from baseline to baseline, though. Everything had to be perfect. Then again, these feeds were no pace, so maybe depth will be easier with some incoming pace?

It's sure going to be difficult to make this switch when it gets colder and practice isn't possible . . .
Hitting crosscourt will be easier at the beginning versus inside out until you get the racquet angle down. Yes, you just have to hit the ball a tiny bit later. I did struggle with low balls initially too so you might have to just slice those in the beginning.

The biggest tip I followed to get more spin was to keep a high right elbow (for right-handers) after the follow-through.

These two videos helped me a lot:


 

mrmarble

Rookie
Have you tried going really, really, really simple on the forehand? There's no need to use your second hand to create a simple, abbreviated stroke.

It's super disappointing to hear that your coaches couldn't help you with the stroke, but that's probably because none of them understood the stroke at a fundamental enough level to start at square 1: forehand contact. The first step barely involves turning away from the ball at all. Then, as you turn back towards it, just let the racket flick back, and then forward. That's it. That's step 1 of the forehand. Barely turn, relax the hand, let the racket flick back and forward.

Track the ball in with your eyes, watch it as it bounces, and plan out where you're going to hit it. Then, loosely and slowly, just swing your hand to that point. That's it. No turning fully sideways. No "leg drive." Barely even any "swing." Just relax the hand and then intercept the ball with the racket.

Obviously there's a little more to it than that, but that's the starting point, and anyone can do it.

Please don't give up on the 1HFH, it's INFINITELY SUPERIOR to the 2HFH.

The modern 1HFH is such an unbelievably biomechanically efficient shot that it fundamentally changed the game of tennis as we know it. It's the reason players don't net rush anymore - that particular way of striking a ball works so damn well that you can hit ridiculous passing shots out of seemingly impossible positions, and passing shots out of regular positions are trivial.

Also, you really should post a video. Just ignore the haters. I guarantee I'll be able to help with specific starting suggestions after seeing you hit 10-20 forehands.
You make it sound it’s so easy. Can you post a video of you hitting some forehands like you describe ?
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
The current pro forehand is seen to involve a two phase forward swing.
1st- the uppermost body turns(seen by the line between the two shoulders). This involves trunk twisting and that may be too stressful for your back. ?
2nd - the shoulder joint sub- motion.

View these two sub-motions in pro videos and TV matches and note the relative amount of each of the two sub-motions and their timing.

Compare to your current forehand motion using high speed video.

If the two phase forehand might be too stressful for you, then identify and find the forehand that you intend to do and get a video of it.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
The current pro forehand is seen to involve a two phase forward swing.
1st- the uppermost body turns(seen by the line between the two shoulders). This involves trunk twisting and that may be too stressful for your back. ?
2nd - the shoulder joint sub- motion.

View these two sub-motions in pro videos and TV matches and note the relative amount of each of the two sub-motions and their timing.

Compare to your current forehand motion using high speed video.

If the two phase forehand might be too stressful for you, then identify and find the forehand that you intend to do and get a video of it.
Hand under the ball, hand over the net.

J
 
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slipgrip93

Semi-Pro
Many pros have tried to fix it; all have failed. I practice whenever I get the chance, including with a ball machine sometimes. My FH swing is not the problem.
It's interesting/fun to think the general thought of readers of your thread question here is that if only we could be there on the court with you in person, each of us in particular would (or like to) think we could analyze your fh swing and be able to pinpoint, make observations, or give point tips to immediately fix your fh, when your instructors have failed.

And I've no doubt some or one of these other posters (than myself, though I'd also have my own 2c on your fh issue; for now, don't give it up yet! imo) here could do it. As for myself, reading some of the great tips and posts here for the past two years has helped improve my serve and fh tremendously in that they are better than ever in my life. Lots of good help and thoughts here on ttw, imo.
 
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Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Breaking down bad muscle memory and replacing it with good muscle memory is a monumental task as we age. The advantage to Cindy with a 2HFH is that she likely has little muscle memory for that swing and can start fresh rather than break down and build up a 1HFH. The disadvantage is that it will be hard to get a coach that can teach you the fundamentals so you don't start down the wrong path.

Good luck trying it out.
 

Booger

Hall of Fame
Breaking down bad muscle memory and replacing it with good muscle memory is a monumental task as we age.
You can teach an 11 year old a forehand in a few lessons. A 45 year old 3.5... you can do 1000 correct reps and they will still go right back to the old way lol. Every time.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
It's funny, lots of rec women I know have great two-handed backhands and awful forehands

Unsure if coincidence or cheddar
 

RatedPG

New User
FYI. Nadal learned and developed his Forehand starting with the 2HFH, as a child. From my personal experience, like Cindy, I always struggled with forehand side. Backhand side has always been natural to me. In singles, my forehand was always a slice or a lob and the 2HBH was my attacking shot. I was called a pusher as my forehand was a lob or a no pace shot with a slice. My singles would have no doubt been better off had I learned to attack on forehand side. But, at that time, there was no need for improvement as I won my ladder matches in a club with players playing mostly at 3.5 level. It was uglier tennis. But, effective at that level. I used to play more singles and then switched to doubles and now only play doubles as I enjoy playing in Men’s Tennis Leagues and love figuring out how to win matches with my partners. I have been playing mostly doubles, the last 8 years. Started at 3.5 level and then mostly at 4.0 level, until now, where I’m in limbo land, as I got pushed to 4.5 level, but, my team mates got stuck at 4.0. So, I didn’t play for two years due to not having a team the first year and then the pandemic the following year. Eventually, I ended up subbing in for another team, for a practice session. That team won 4.0 sectionals in 2020, and after some practice sessions, this team has taken me in. So, I’m playing 4.5 next year, in 2022. I miss my old team mates, but, I got too good and this is mostly due to implementing the 2HFH to my game.

Now, to discuss how the 2HFH changed my game. From my past experience, I mostly stuck to playing in the ad side and that was how it was until I got along with a leftie player and was forced to play on the deuce side during 4.0 league practices and leagues, He only played ad side because he is a “leftie”, as he would say and it would be a waste not to take advantage of his leftiness. On that side, I noticed that if I didn’t lob high enough, especially against higher level 4.0s, my shots would be put away. Also, slicing cross court in deuce side was difficult for me. I would make more errors. On deuce side, I was a low 4.0, maybe, even a high 3.5 level player. This was a shock to me as I was used to being an above average 4.0 player in the ad side. So, 4-5 years ago, I was forced to change my game, if I were to play doubles with this individual, who I became close friends with. I started practicing with a 2HFH and that changed my entire game, for the better. I started with watching how Shuai Peng plays and learned to mimic her ground strokes, just not as hard as how she hits obviously. But, my win loss record got better and better. I went from only practices with this leftie player, to league play and my results got better each year, as I became more comfortable with this shot.

So, some benefits I noticed with how 2HFH developed my game to 4.5 level:

1) I can hit attacking shots much better. Especially, when I’m given pace. I can change direction of the ball easier with disguise and can nail down the line shots past the net player, to keep them honest. I used to do that with forehand slice, but, my set up would allow players to prepare for a volley. Now, they don’t know if I’m going to do cross court or down the line. So, I’ve taken time away from them. Also, before, when they knew I’d lob, they have more time to prepare their shots. Now, I take away time and I notice most people struggle with hitting shots in the run. So, hitting attacking shots, generates more unforced errors, from opponents due to this take away of their time.

2) Also, my cross courts are much better. I used to lob cross court so the poacher couldn’t attack, but, now I can hit harder down the middle to target the deuce player backhand side OR if I want to avoid the poacher, I can hit better angle shots that the poacher can’t get to. So, I now have two options and I love mixing it up. Please note that I still throw in some lobs here and there. So, my original game is still there and used. So, it is not like I lost that defensive part of the game. I just now have added the offensive parts to my game.

3) Better volleys. I think this is the part of the game that developed the most due to 2HFH. The double handed forehand forces you to change grips a lot and so I became more aware of what grips to use and implement. Before, I used to only have a swinging volley on the backhand side. Now, I have a swinging volley on forehand side too. So, mid volley game improved too.

4) Less running. Before, i used to run around the forehand. So, I left holes all around the court so I would only get 2HBH’s shots back. But, now, I’m comfortable on both sides so I can position myself to hit shots without running around a certain shot. This saves me lots of energy, which can be needed, especially, if the match goes the distance.

5) No tennis elbow. When you hit double handed on both sides, the extra hand helps guide the racquet without as much stress inflicted into your elbow. I haven’t experienced this nasty injury as much as I used to in the past. When I do, it is because I played for four days straight and mostly from the serve motion. I can just take a week off to recover. So, hitting this forehand shot with two hands has done wonders to my health.

6) More consistency. When I hit double handed shots, it is weird. But, it is actually a more consistent shot. I make less unforced errors. I’m sure it is not as hard hitting as it would be if i learned and mastered the single hand forehand. But, I’m a player that likes consistency. Needless to say, my forehand consistency was only lobs and inconsistent forehand chops. So, I gained more power (reducing lobs) and more consistency (less cross court slices) when going cross court.

7) My old game isn’t lost. Players will tell you that you give up a certain reach as hitting double handed doesn’t allow you to extend the reach to hit certain shots that are hit away from you. This is true. But, because my right hand is at the bottom of my grip, I simply just release the two hand and hit a single handed defensive lob instead. So, I don’t really lose out. This is the shot I’d hit anyways. Maybe, 10% of shots are hit where I have to resort to single hand forehand defensive shots. But, the same can be said on my backhand side. So, I don’t see the difference as I just go to single handed tennis. 90% of the shots will be hit to the double handed forehand or backhand strike zone. So, that is good statistic to remember when thinking of whether or not to implement this shot to your game.

So, to summarize, I’m so happy I disregarded other people’s opinions about 2HFH being only good for Women’s tennis. I got criticized a lot from the men in my team. But, while they stayed with their similar game, my tennis game improved as I fixed a weakness to my tennis game I had long ignored. Funny enough, most have really good forehands with weaker backhands that pop up and get put away. When you hit two handed on both sides, there is less of a weakness in regards to less shots popping up. When you hit shots on both sides that don’t pop up, you’d be surprised how being less picked on, makes a difference. At my age, around 40 now, I was happy to stay at the 4.0 level as my team would finish in the middle of the pack for many years and I was satisfied with that. I got used to the venues and the opponents each year. I wasn’t looking to improve. But, naturally, when you fix a weakness to your game, it is only logical, that you will improve. So, I improved. My tennis game resembles Su Wei Hseih, the most, mind you a weaker version. My opponents tell me that the biggest strength of my game is that they have no idea where I’m going to hit and my variety. I’m limited in regards to me being on the smaller frame side of things. I don’t work out, as much. So, I think that is what made hitting single handed difficult for me. Two handed works better for players like me. So, I think you need to self-assess your game and do what is best for you. Everyone likes to imitate players like Federer and Nadal, that other effective techniques get ignored. Players like Su Wei Hseih and Shuai Peng, their singles games are okay for top 50 ranking. Their weakness is that their single handed forehand defence shots are not as good as their higher ranked opponents. But, when they are able to hit within their strike zone, like in doubles, they won grand slams and a #1 ranking, because like I outlined, there are many perks to using a 2HFH. If it works for #1 ladies doubles player in the world, it will work for me and will work for you.

I’m never going to forget what a coach told me during a 4.0 clinics session that “there is nobody in the top 100 in the ATP tour using a 2HFH”. Which is true. But, in my head, I muttered to myself, I’m 35 and in 4.0 and I think that career ATP goal has long ago expired. I just want to be a better 4.0 player on the deuce side. My goal, at that time, was simply to fix a weakness to my tennis game with the objective to play with my leftie friend so that when I played practice matches with him, on the deuce side, we could beat half of the teams in my league team. Little did I know it would take me beyond this objective where I attained a bump up to 4.5, which, believe me, I wasn’t too happy about at that time. But, now I’ve come to terms with it and I’m looking to see how I’d do at 4.5. So far, my practices are going well and I have a mentor, now, as the best player in my new 4.5 league team, plays double handed forehand and double handed backhands. HeHe! Right now, he plays on the higher level practice sessions. But, guess who i can ask for advise, should I feel the need to get better.

So, in conclusion, I don’t normally post. But, because I’ve enjoyed reading Cindy’s tennis journey. I almost feel like she is a friend of mine due to her long history on these boards. I want to offer what worked for me.
 
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socallefty

Legend
How about changing coaches instead of changing to a 2HFH and relearning one of the foundational shots in tennis from scratch? Sometimes you need a new coach who can teach in such a way that he/she can say the right things, design the right hand-feed drills and cause improvement. If your current coach won’t teach you a 2HFH and you need a new coach, you might as well see if your new coach can improve your 1HFH first.
 

Pumpkin

Semi-Pro
It's tough. I had to work on my forehand for 5 years to fix it. I hit against a wall for an hour 4 times a week.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
@RatedPG, thanks for sharing your journey. Maybe there’s hope?

@socallefty, if I see a better pro, I’ll consider switching. I know a lot of pros who are willing to teach a player my age and level, and I don’t see anyone worth switching for. And there was the time my current pro moved away for a year and I found a pretty good pro. Despite a year of trying, that pro wasn’t able to fix my FH either.
 

socallefty

Legend
@socallefty, if I see a better pro, I’ll consider switching. I know a lot of pros who are willing to teach a player my age and level, and I don’t see anyone worth switching for. And there was the time my current pro moved away for a year and I found a pretty good pro. Despite a year of trying, that pro wasn’t able to fix my FH either.
How will you learn a 2HFH then? Just wing it on your own? You think you will get the fundamentals of this unusual shot right on your own? I don’t even know if I’ve seen pictures of what the grip to use is in a tennis textbook.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Well, I’ll think about posting a video. In my experience, TT folks enjoy mocking people who post videos, especially women.

that said, you may be onto something with that drill idea, Stapleton.

last week, I had yet another lesson devoted to FH. I noticed that I never misjudged a BH by not moving up to the ball enough. But I made that error many times on the FH. Clearly, I am not moving up enough to FHs.

I would bet I could do your drill solo by tossing a ball up but moving away from me.
No. The only ones who get mocked are the ones who are completely delusional. I don’t think you are one of those.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
How will you learn a 2HFH then? Just wing it on your own? You think you will get the fundamentals of this unusual shot right on your own? I don’t even know if I’ve seen pictures of what the grip to use is in a tennis textbook.
I’ll ask my pro to teach me. He will.

When Justine Henin was on top, I decided I wanted to hit a 1hbh. He said it was a bad idea. I said I wanted to try, so he taught me. And after a lesson on it, he said if I worked really hard at it for long enough, I could get it as solid as my 2hbh already was. That seemed like a poor use of time, so I dropped the idea.
 

RatedPG

New User
@socallefty That is a valid point. I’m mostly self taught. I took a few lessons and clinics, for a year or two, here and there. Especially, during the time period when my team got bumped up to 4.0 and I signed up for a clinic with my league mates due to FOMO. I don’t know what it is. I just don’t get the single handed forehand side, like others do. After struggling and struggling, mind you, running around and hitting backhands instead and hitting single handed forehand lobs during league matches, I found the double handed forehand to be an immediate solution to my goal. I find that tennis has a lot of elements that can be tweaked on. My serve is now my current biggest weakness. If I want to take my tennis to the next level, I’ll require lots of coaching, etc. That requires money and time that I’d rather spend elsewhere.

My old league mates are stuck to a certain extent due to athletic ability, etc. But, the ones who hit better single handed forehands than me, are stuck at 4.0, because their backhands are way weaker in comparison to my adjusted weaker side, the forehand, and this limits their ability to move up any higher. Everyone has their limit. Groundstroke game is a killer if you are weak on one side. They have been at it for, eight years, analyzing Wawrinka videos and continuing with private one to one coaching. They are way more invested than myself. Although, they have made improvements. That 10% improvement on the backhand side, isn’t as drastic, as for example, improving my forehand by 30% due to this switch to using two hands. I have some satisfaction of knowing this. Both my double handed shots are not as strong as their one shot, but, because I’m more consistent on both sides, I get better results in the stats page. When I left my old league partners, their results got worse as they lost to teams they normally beat with me, as their partner. Making less unforced errors makes a difference in matches.

I’ve often thought of telling people in person. But, tell that to a male player with a certain male ego who wants to play like his idol. I find the biggest weakness that so many players make is to try to imitate players like Federer or Thiem, but, that type of game just doesn’t work for many of them. In fact, they say, that 75% of players play at 3.5 level or less. Double handed shots, in my opinion, work better for the less athletically gifted players, like me. In my opinion, I’m fine with letting people play, as they do. Everyone has the right to choose their own tennis journey. I just found that making this one tweak, aided my tennis improvement immensely. So, why not share to others looking for something different. The funny thing is that the double handed forehand is actually fixing my single handed forehand because when I release to hit single handed shots on the run, the memory of hitting double handed forehands is starting to get engrained in my memory and I do sometimes hit single handed forehands that make me go, wow! This is what a single handed forehand is supposed to look like. So, who knows what the future holds in my tennis journey. All I know, is my goal was to be an above average 4.0 player and now I’m 4.5, above my expectations, and I attribute a lot due to this one change.

@Cindysphinx, One last story, for Cindy, I have a senior ladies player, who at 70+ years, plays in a 3.5 Ladies league team. She hurt her forehand. She is the only player who has ever asked me about my double handed forehand. She couldn’t play with single handed forehand, as it was too painful for her. So, I showed her the grip, in person. She is so happy with this change as her W/L record has improved and she attributes this, due to this change, despite her dropping in terms of mobility to due her age.
 
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Cashman

Hall of Fame
From my personal experience, like Cindy, I always struggled with forehand side. Backhand side has always been natural to me.
That's really interesting to me. Do you have any sort of understanding about why this is the case? Usually the forehand feels more natural because it's biomechanically simpler.

Do you play with your non-dominant hand? Or did you play a lot of baseball or something as a kid?
 

RatedPG

New User
Last thing worth mentioning, is that my weaknesses with double handed forehand actually is on the ad side, hitting inside out double handed forehands aren’t hit as effectively on that side. I slice better and sometimes throw a lob instead when I’m hit to my forehand on that side. Also, off pace balls like slices where I have to move forward, give me more trouble. I don’t know if it is cause you have to reach out for the ball and it is harder with two hands. I struggled with these type of opponents and faced these type of opponents more at 4.0 level than 4.5 level. I got over this hump, at the 4.0 level, by resorting to more single handed shots and also hitting harder than usual and then approaching the net with these slice opponents.

When players hit flat with pace, that is when my double handed forehands are more effective. The more the pace, the better. Also, good with dealing with top spin shots. At 4.5 practices, they seem to hit harder and it looks like the two hands is adaptable to this level. I struggle mostly due to other parts of my game, specifically the serve and return of serve, where the points end sooner than I’d like. The advantage of two hands at 4.0 level is consistency and waiting for opponents to generate their own errors from cross court rallies. At 4.5 level, the serves come at you harder and with more spins and I’m used to safe angle returns with less pace shots at 4.0 level. At this level, they poach more from their partners offensive shots. So, I have to get used to this, as I find myself apologizing to my partners when the opponents hit a slam dunk volley into the legs of my doubles partner. This gives me something to work on. But, so far, my volleys and groundstrokes seem to be better than half the players on my team and as a result are making up for this deficit. So far, my practice results have exceeded my expectations. Another opinion, is that there are many 4.5 players, that actually belong in the 4.0 level. Also, I moved up to 4.5 level, after two years of switching to two hands and I think the two years “off” period has given me more experience with hitting double handed shots. I moved up from 4.0 to 4.5 after two seasons of switching to two hands and I think I’m a much better player than two years ago because of my increased comfort level with this shot.
 

Addxyz

Professional
That's really interesting to me. Do you have any sort of understanding about why this is the case? Usually the forehand feels more natural because it's biomechanically simpler.

Do you play with your non-dominant hand? Or did you play a lot of baseball or something as a kid?
When I talked to higher level players they always say their 2hbh is a stroke that doesn't break down. To me the 1hfh feels like much more could go wrong.
 
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